Why Your Business Needs Negative Reviews

March 18th, 2015

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

Americans are more likely to purchase your brand if it has some negative reviews. Really.

95% of consumers consult online reviews, and 82% look for negative ones. If they don’t find them, they assume that the positive comments are fake.

Shoppers use poor reviews to understand the worst case outcome of making a purchase. They are reassured by negative reviews if the issues highlighted aren’t important to them. Additionally, most people check to see if the writer is like them. If not, they tend to ignore the comments.

Negative reviews that are very polite can actually improve consumers’ perceptions of a brand. Shoppers view businesses that receive critical but polite reviews as more honest, down-to-earth and wholesome. It appears people transfer the reviewers’ thoughtfulness to the brand.

It is tempting for businesses to ignore funny, but critical, online reviews. However, these are actually the most important to address. Humorous reviews get the most attention from other consumers.

People under 45 trust online reviews more than recommendations from friends and family. So brands need to encourage reviews, respond to them appropriately, and appreciate the value of both positive and negative comments.

Smartphones Take Over From Tablets

March 5th, 2015

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

Both smartphones and tablets are becoming quite important in consumers’ path to purchase. But, mobile phones are emerging as the clear leader.

For the first time, Americans are buying more on their smartphones than on their tablets. Over 14% of ecommerce purchases now happen on phones.

Mobile phones are particularly dominant when it comes to buying travel, fashion, and luxury goods. Increasing numbers of consumers are purchasing big ticket items—including stocks and insurance—via their smartphone.

The average owner spends more time using their mobile than their tablet—almost three and a half hours per day—giving them plenty of opportunities to shop.

But, don’t count tablets out yet. The conversion rate for tablets is significantly higher than for smartphones. Plus, Americans spend more at one sitting when using their tablet. Dollars per order on tablets are virtually equal to laptops, while the average order size on mobile phones lags behind.

Consumers are migrating towards buying on smartphones because of ease and convenience. Cellphone screens have gotten larger and mobile websites have improved, streamlining the process to research and buy products.

Dark Social Media: Everything You Need to Know

February 6th, 2015

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

Over 70% of social media sharing occur in ways that marketers cannot see or measure with analytics. These invisible interactions are called “dark social”—defined as sharing social content via private channels like email, Snapchat, and What’s Up.

It turns out that all the likes, shares, and retweets that marketers track (called “light social”) represent less than one third of all social media engagement.

Americans share different types of content via dark and light social. Two thirds of all entertainment content is shared via light social. Only 10% of financial content is passed on that way.

Consumers use light social media at least partially to create the persona they want others to see. Dark social is for private topics and interactions people do not want to impact their image.

Roughly 33% of all consumers only share via dark social. To marketers, they appear to be inactive on Facebook and Twitter. In reality they are quite engaged, but untrackable.

The existence of dark social has huge implications for marketers. If we set our social strategies based purely on analytics, we overlook the majority of sharing activity, and a huge percentage of our audience.

73% Say “Beacons Influence What I Buy”

January 23rd, 2015

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

In-store beacons are delivering beyond marketers wildest expectations, according to early tracking stats.

Before we dive into the details, here’s a quick refresher. Beacons are small hardware devices that send location-specific messages to shoppers’ smartphones while they are in-store. The technology has been deployed in roughly 3,000 US retail outlets—Everywhere from Lord and Taylor to Walgreens.

Shoppers who receive a beacon message in-store are 19 times more likely to interact with the featured product than those who do not. Almost three-quarters of recipients say the messages impacted what they purchased.

Hillshire Farms tested beacons as part of a new product launch and found they significantly increased awareness and purchase intent.

Beacons also influence where consumers shop. 60% of Americans who have experienced beacons now prefer retailers with the technology. What’s more, they are 80% less likely to delete a retailer’s app if it has beacon capabilities.

In order to receive beacon messages, consumers must have a beacon-enabled app on their mobile. About 40 million Americans have downloaded these apps so far. That means results to date are from early adopters. If mainstream Americans follow their lead, beacons will become a very powerful marketing tool.

50% of Videos Watched on Mobiles

January 8th, 2015

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

30% of all videos watched by consumers in third quarter 2014 were viewed on a smartphone or tablet. That percentage is predicted to exceed 50% by the end of 2015.

That may sound unlikely until you realize that more than half of all YouTube traffic today comes from mobile devices. Plus mobile video views as a percentage of all watchings have doubled in the past 12 months and quadrupled since 2012.

Consumers watch a surprising number of longer videos on their smartphones and tablets. Over half of their total time viewing mobile videos is spent on clips over 10 minutes. However, Americans watch fewer videos at one sitting when they are on their mobile devices than their PC.

There appear to be two key drivers of mobile video watching: sports and news. Mobile video peaked in 2014 during key sporting events: FIFA, Tour de France, and PGA tournaments.

According to Cisco, roughly two-thirds of all Internet traffic today is video, and they project it will increase to roughly 80% by 2018. An ever growing portion will be consumed on mobile devices.

9 Things Your Competitors Know About Instagram

December 18th, 2014

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

The consumer packaged goods industry has been slow to adopt Instagram. In fact, the percent of top CPG brands on Instagram is lower than for almost all other sectors.

Below are nine fast facts to convince yourself (and your boss) that you should be more active on Instagram.

  • Instagram has almost doubled its user base in the past year. With 300 million monthly active users, it is now larger than Twitter.
  • Consumers are orders of magnitude more likely to interact with posts on Instagram than on Facebook or Twitter.
  • The rate of engagement with Instagram has almost doubled in the past 12 months.
  • Instagram posts have some staying power. More than 50% of engagement with top photos happens after 13 hours.
  • In 2014, almost three quarters of teens declared Instagram their favorite social net, replacing Facebook.
  • Teens say the best way for brands to reach them on social media is via Instagram, ahead of both Twitter and Facebook.
  • Instagram is giving Twitter a run for its money on delivering breaking news. Americans are turning to Instagram to get the news in pictures rather than words.
  • 86% of the top 100 US brands have an Instagram account.
  • Two thirds of Americans are concerned about privacy on Facebook, only 35% are worried about Instagram.

8 Reasons Why You Need to Improve Your Social Customer Service

December 5th, 2014

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

Over half of consumers turn to their computer when they want to contact a company, only 25% pick up the phone. That is just one reason why brands need to deliver outstanding customer service on social media. Others are:

  • Consumers posted 77% more customer service inquires on social media this year than last year.
  • The percentage of consumer posts that companies respond to has declined in the past 12 months.
  • 30% of Americans expect companies to respond to an online comment in an hour or less.
  • Businesses reply to consumer posts on Twitter in 9 hours on average.
  • In the past 12 months, Twitter has surpassed Facebook as Americans’ favorite social network for contacting businesses. Brands have not followed that shift and 60% of customer service contacts on Twitter go unanswered.
  • More than half of consumers say that when a brand responds to them online, it makes them feel better about the brand.
  • 65% of shoppers have stopped buying a product due to poor customer service. The #1 reason they boycott companies is because they did not get their issue addressed the first time they contact the brand.

Consumers Stop Showrooming

November 13th, 2014

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

This year, far fewer consumers are using their smartphone in-store to find a better deal and make their purchase online. Called showrooming, this behavior was done by almost 40% of gadget owners last year, but only 28% this year.

More shoppers now start the purchase process on their phone, and ultimately buy in a brick and mortar store. “Webrooming,” as it is labeled, is done by 41% of consumers, and is particularly popular among 25-49 year olds. In fact, all generations except 18-24 year olds are more likely to webroom than showroom.

Marketers used to believe that consumers would only spend time doing online research before real world purchases of high priced items. However, recent dramatic increases in purchases of food, beverages, OTC medications, and beauty products that involved both digital and physical channels has seriously challenged that thinking.

IBM predicts that over the Thanksgiving weekend, more than 50% of all shopping searches will be done on mobile devices, but only 24% of purchases will be completed on them. That means holiday season 2014 is likely to have plenty of webrooming.

Where People Buy On Social Networks

October 30th, 2014

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

Consumers are three times more likely to shop on Pinterest than on other social networks. Food and fashion top their list of interests.

This is part of a growing trend of Americans using different social nets for different subjects. Twitter is for business and sports. Family, parenting and politics lead on Facebook. Pinterest is all about ecommerce.

What device consumers are on also impacts their social behavior. Sharing is occurring more and more on smartphones and tablets, and less on laptops. Mobile now makes up over half of all sharing on the top three networks, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

The type of content consumers read also depends on their device. People are twice as likely to engage with CPG posts as any others on their smartphones.

Least you think this all only applies to Millennials and Gen Xers, check out this statistic. Americans over age 55 (who make up 26% of the population) now account for 43% of social sharing on tablets, 34% on laptops, and 21% on smartphones.

Ello: 9 Things You Must Know

October 10th, 2014

Digital American Image

By Maura Mitchell

Ello is a brand new social network that has taken the US by storm. Below is everything you need to know to impress your boss.

  • Ello launched in early August with 90 members. It now gets over 30,000 membership requests per hour.
  • The network is in public beta, so very few people are allowed to join. Each member can only invite 5 friends. Everyone else is put on the wait list.
  • Invitations are being sold on eBay. (Really, I couldn’t make this up.)
  • Ello is so popular because it promises to be ad free forever, never track members, and allow users to use pseudonyms.
  • The timing is perfect. Consumers are mad at Facebook because of the deluge of ads and recent revelations that it manipulated users for “research.”
  • Ello’s design is simple and clutter free.
  • The company says it plans to make money by offering premium services.
  • Ello was started by an entrepreneur in Vermont, Paul Budnitz, who designs custom bicycles.
  • The social net was originally for the founders’ friends only, but so many people wanted to join they opened it to the public.

Check Ello out yourself by signing up for the waitlist here. https://ello.co/request-an-invitation