Majority Of Consumers Want To Interact With Brands Online

    October 20, 2009

The majority (78%) of new media users interact with brands via new media sites, an increase of 32 percent from 2008 (59%), according to a new report from communications firm Cone.

The report found new media users believe companies or brands should not only have a presence in new media (95%) but also interact with their consumers (89%). The majority of consumers are still searching for companies and brands on traditional websites (58%) and though email (45%), but anywhere from a third to a quarter of consumers want to interact with brands in social networks (30%) and via online games (24%).

Most Americans Use New Media Sites and Tools

Consumers still feel companies’ or brands’ top priorities within new media should be to problem solve and provide information (61%, up from 43% in 2008) but they are increasingly realizing that marketing messages may be part of their relationship with brands online. People are more willing to engage if incentives are offered such as free products, coupons or discounts (58%), especially among the female demographic (63%).

Interact with Companies or Brands VIA New Media

When asked about their impressions of companies or brands present in new media, users said they:

  • Feel a stronger connection (72%, up from 56% in 2008)
  • Feel better served (68%, up from 57% in 2008)
  • Have a more positive image (74%)
  • Are more willing to engage (70%)
  • Have an improved opinion when one of their friends interacts (64%)
  • Choose to "follow"/"friend"/"fan" because it helps showcase their personality online (52%)

"Consumers haven’t yet been exhausted by brand over saturation in the new media space," says Mike Hollywood, Cone’s director of new media.

"There is still an opportunity for forward-thinking companies to establish a presence and earn a competitive advantage. Based on the growth of user interactions with companies, countless purchase decisions are being influenced by new media. It’s imperative to get on board now that the train has left the station."