A new study by Rubicon Consulting states that word of mouth and online reviews are the most influential factors in consumer purchasing decisions. According to the study, the Internet is also an important medium of providing customer support. Following are few other survey findings in the periphery of consumer’s use and perceptions of different websites:
- The Web is the #2 resource for customer support information, after user manuals. It ranks ahead of calling the manufacturer or asking a dealer.
- Website categories that get the most daily usage are search, social communities like MySpace and Facebook, general news websites like CNN.com and NYTimes.com, and online banking.
- The websites that Americans value most are (in order), Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Facebook.
- Although Yahoo’s financial challenges have generated a lot of press attention, it continues to have a very large and loyal following.
- Facebook appears to be ahead of MySpace in terms of number of users in the US, and perceived value of the site.
- Despite extensive publicity, the community sites SecondLife and Twitter reach only a few percent of US Internet users.
- Democrats are more active online than Republicans. Democrats are more likely to participate in online communities, and say they are more heavily influenced in their voting decisions by information they find online.
- Young people (age 22 and under) account for about half of all the content and comments posted online.
Learnings from the survey:
- Its important to go beyond website. include Search marketing, Social Media in your marketing budget
- Work towards developing an efficient online customer service platform.
- Do not downplay the importance of online communities
- Increase your focus to those few to write about your brand & build content for you. Connect with them, nurture these online communities. Because these online communities connect to most other internet users who get influenced by the reviews they read on internet.