Despite wild innovation in online marketing methods – ranging from sponsored content to corporate profiles to helpful applications – traditional banner advertisements and email newsletters remain two of the most effective ways to get consumers to buy products, according to a study performed by Psychster and AllRecipes.com.
The study tracked participants’ reactions to seven kinds of online advertising. The results paint a hazy picture for how to run internet campaigns.
Sponsored content promotions inspired the most consumer interaction– generating brand awareness – but sparked the least purchase intent and recommendations to friends. On balance, it was also the type of activity least likely to be perceived as an advertisement. Corporate social networking profiles were more effective when they allowed users to become fans of the brand – which also put the brand’s logo on the fan’s profile. “Give” and “get” applications, which allowed consumers to create a digital product and either keep it for themselves or give them to friends, created more engagement than banners and newsletters, but lagged in purchase intent and recommendations.
These results, Psychster said, were consistent across the two brands tested (a car company and a soup). Participants viewed each mock-up on either Facebook or AllRecipes.com pages. No ad type was so engaging that it overcame the advantage found by matching the brand to an appropriate web site.
The next wave in advertising might be assistance.
Consumers have grown increasingly pragmatic, plugged in and fond of convenience, reported Trendwatching.com, giving marketers the opportunity to address customers’ unmet needs through lightly-branded services.
While the exploding prevalence of smartphones has led to a focus on mobile apps, marketers can also reach consumers through older technology. The United States Postal Service created an online application that uses their computer’s web camera to determine the right size box to ship a shown package, and 3M offered business travelers privacy at airports in branded cubicles. In the beverage sphere, PepsiCo hosted brand-themed lounges at the South by Southwest concert festival, and British retailer Tesco gave its consumers an iPhone program that finds information about the chain’s wines by recognizing them in a photo.
The opportunities for other brands – including beverage marketers and retailers – are currently wide open, Trendwatching reported. The key with this kind of promotion, Trendwatching said, is to identify the themes of a brand, then dream up a suite of services. While most of these would focus on existing consumers (and the firm suggests using input from those consumers to develop ideas), building services that are also open to non-customers enhances the service’s ability to work as a promotional platform.