Reach “Ad Skippers” Via Online Word-of-Mouth

You know those people skipping TV ads? Well, they’re also more likely to be frequenting Internet forums to create and respond to consumer-generated media (CGM). That’s the finding from a new Intelliseek study on CGM and engagement released this week.

The study found that “active ad skippers” — people who, with or without DVRs (define), reported deliberately skipping over ads on TV — were 25 percent more likely to participate in Internet message boards, forums and blogs. Intelliseek came to its conclusions after an August survey of 660 online consumers.

Additionally, the researchers found that consumers are approximately 16 percent more likely to be influenced by Internet word-of-mouth recommendations than by radio or TV ads. Ads in newspapers or magazines were even less influential, the study found.

“We’re really on the front end of what will be a fundamental shift in the way consumers get and receive information,” said Mike Nazzaro, CEO of Intelliseek. “This study, at a high level, validates that.”

Intelliseek found CGM had a particularly high level of impact in certain categories: health/medical, automotive, electronics, video games and music. When asked about how they came to purchase decisions about these categories of products or services, a majority said they went online to check out word-of-mouth. They should have plenty of material to investigate. The study also found that by the end of 2005, consumers will have posted a total of two billion product- and service-related comments online, representing a “significant increase” over the previous year.

Teens are especially likely to create CGM. Nearly 30 percent of teens send photos via their mobile phones while 45 percent have experimented with or created a blog. Nearly 10 percent subscribe to RSS (define) feeds. Still, teens continue to be trusting of advertisers, researchers found.

One of the study’s conclusions will likely be badly received by some in the nascent online word-of-mouth marketing industry. One third of consumers said they’d be disappointed if a trusted contact failed to disclose that he or she received incentives to recommend a particular brand. Twenty-six percent said they’d never trust that friend again, and 30 percent said they’d be so turned off that they’d shun the product or service. Companies like BzzAgent and Procter & Gamble’s Tremor give away previews of products and incentives to people who agree to “buzz” about them. After sparking controversy, BzzAgent began to encourage its “agents” to disclose up front their relationship with the company.

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