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Harnessing Active Brand Advocates

Web spurs offline word-of-mouth

With brands turning more to earned media—the additional free exposure that a brand gets when consumers talk about a brand—they depend on motivated consumers to act as advocates. A survey conducted by Synovate for word-of-mouth ad network PostRelease investigated just how likely Internet users are to do that.

The most common word-of-mouth activity reported by respondents was helping a friend or family member with a purchase decision, but more than two-fifths also said they had shared advice offline about information they learned on the Web. Significantly fewer Internet users posted their own ratings and reviews online, and only about one-half as many shared links to articles or reviews about products.

Participation in most of the social media and word-of-mouth activities was highest among younger adults, almost one-half of whom gave in-person advice based on online information. Respondents ages 18 to 24 were also more likely than older Web users to post ratings and reviews, share links, and have a blog.

PostRelease also broke down respondents according to whether or not they participate in online forums, which about one-fifth of those polled did. Forum participants were significantly more likely to take part in all the activities queried. Notably:

  • 65% of forum contributors give advice offline based on information found online, compared with 35% of noncontributors.
  • 66% of forum contributors post online ratings and reviews, compared with 16.8% of noncontributors.
  • 43.6% of forum contributors share links to articles and reviews, versus 12% of noncontributors.
  • 20.6% of forum contributors publish a blog, compared with 2.1% of noncontributors.

Users of forums, who are already actively engaged in online social activity, make for “enthusiastic consumers and influential brand advocates,” according to a statement by Justin Choi, president and founder of PostRelease.

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.

Check out today’s other article, “Consumers Take to Shopping by Smartphone.”

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