Yahoo! Search Marketing - Engaging Advocates


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When the Yahoo! Search Marketing team wanted to update their offerings to advertisers, they turned to Create with Context to understand how search and social media are influencing major purchasing decisions, both online and offline. Based on in-home research throughout the US, we explored how people consume and rely upon social media, uncovering brand advocates' underlying motivations and why they megaphone about products they love. This knowledge, combined with quantitative data from comScore, formed the basis for the Yahoo! Summit Series - Engaging Advocates Through Search and Social Media.

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Yahoo! Search Marketing - Engaging Advocates

  1. 1. ENGAGING ADVOCATES Through Search and Social Media Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD
  2. 2. “I don’t want anyone’s opinion, I want like-minded peoples’ opinions.” - Homemaker, St. Louis, MO “I always start with search, and from there I find the good sites where it seems that a lot of real people provided input.” - Director of Finance, San Jose, CA
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION Over the past decade, the internet has radically changed how consumers research and purchase products and services. The internet also impacts how consumers talk about (and often recommend) brands. Word-of-mouth has always been one of the most influential sources for consumers researching brands. The recent proliferation of searchable social media channels such as blogs, online communities and photo sharing have amplified the impact of word-of-mouth. Today’s marketers need to understand: • • • • How are search and social media influencing purchase decisions – and changing the word-of-mouth? Are technology-empowered consumers more satisfied with their purchases? How can brands engage with these consumers in new, more powerful ways? Are brand advocates more valuable and loyal customers? This study investigates how today’s influential consumers use search and social media to help them navigate the purchase process and how they spread the word (both online and offline) post-purchase. The combined forces of word-of-mouth and social media give brand advocates the tools to increase their sphere of influence. It’s a world that marketers need to tap into to promote their brands and to reach some of today’s most influential consumers.
  5. 5. METHODOLOGY A comprehensive three-phased research methodology was used in this study, with the goal of understanding the attitudes and online behaviors of consumers. Specifically, we interviewed consumers who had made a purchase in one the following categories within the last six months: • • • • Consumer electronics Automobiles Hotels Home loans 1. Qualitative Ethnography: “Determining the Why” create withcontext The qualitative portion of the research was conducted by Create With Context in August 2006, using an ethnographic approach (documentary-style interviewing). Interviews were conducted in 24 homes in San Francisco, CA, St. Louis, MO and New York, NY, examining consumers’ pre- and post-purchase behaviors for specific purchases in these four product categories. 2. Quantitative Survey: “Understanding What Consumers Think” In addition, we collected purchasing data across a number of other categories, including: • • • • • • • • Beauty supplies Clothes, shoes or accessories Computers, laptops or computer accessories Concert tickets or subscriptions to an online music or video service Fitness equipment, dietary foods or supplements Video games or video console Sports gear or memorabilia Stock trading, bonds, or other financial services In order to better understand the attitudes toward pre- and post-purchase, we conducted an online survey of 2,261 respondents who had recently made purchases in one of the four target categories. Respondents were asked to rate various research sources, both pre- and post-purchase. They were also asked about their behavior post-purchase and how they communicated their preferences and/or recommendations to others. 3. Clickstream Behavior: “Identifying Online Behaviors” Using ComScore/Media Metrix’s online panel of over one million consumers, we observed the online behaviors of the 2,261 people who completed the quantitative survey. A wide range of online behaviors were observed throughout the entire internet, including usage of portals, blogs, reviews, photos and search. Using ComScore’s panel, we passively observed six months of online behaviors for these purchasers. Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD
  6. 6. WORD-OF-MOUTH EXTENDS ONLINE Word-of-mouth has always been a trusted way to share a brand experience to a larger group. In general, people enjoy sharing experiences about products, brands or categories about which they are passionate. The internet has amplified this exchange, and as a result, the sphere of influence has expanded the message of the purchaser to a much broader audience. With a growing number of tools for online communications, search, and social media, there are more ways to research and contribute to the online dialogue about products and services. The lines between online and offline sources of information and word of mouth are starting to blur. Consumers may consider an opinion they read online about a new car as valuable as a phone conversation with their trusted friend. Through these online channels, today’s marketer is able to extend his reach and ultimately create a dialogue with brand advocates and purchasers.
  7. 7. Volume of Information User Reviews Amazon ePinions Media sharing Word-of-mouth The internet • People look to others for advice • People talk about their experiences • Serves as an amplifier • Allows word-of-mouth to reach significantly larger audiences + The result = The new word-of-mouth equation Sources: Ethnographic Research - Create with Context • Emerging trust in the anonymous online user • Creation of communities of “people like me” • Blurring of online and offline sources Online spaces Blogger Flickr Delicious MySpace Yahoo! 360 Personal websites Trusted online communities Religious groups Neighborhood groups Mother’s groups E-mail lists Commuity boards Retail Friends family Level of Influence The internet has amplified the sphere of influence Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD
  8. 8. DEFINING THE BRAND ADVOCATE From a list of thirty attitudinal attributes (e.g., “a good brand is worth talking about”), we segmented our 2,261 respondents. One group stood apart both attitudinally and behaviorally; we refer to this unique group as Brand Advocates. • Brand advocates are adventurous opinion leaders who are socially well-connected, express their opinions and viewpoints and continually discover new content online. They also believe that good brands are worth talking about. • Demographically, the brand advocate does not differ dramatically from the non-advocate. They are slightly younger, more educated and more affluent than non-advocates. However, it is the attitudinal differences which make this population so attractive to marketers, and their behaviors which enable us to reach them. • This valuable audience represents approximately 40% of purchasers (who are online) across the four categories. Given this significant market share, marketers need to understand the value of reaching this influential audience.
  9. 9. I STRONGLY AGREE WITH THESE STATEMENTS (5 ON A 1-5 PT. SCALE) I am social and well-connected Advocates are connected opinion leaders. Non-advocate 12% 60% Good brands are worth talking about 26% 55% I often tell friends about products that interest me 22% I go out of my way to recommend good products and brands I am a natural leader - people always listen to my opinions 50% 17% 40% 7% 65% I enjoy expressing my opinions and viewpoints 33% 60% I like to discover new content on the internet 30% 41% I have written comments about products/services online I tend to be one of the first among my friends to try new products Advocate (820); Non-advocate (1477) Yellow value indicates a significant difference at a 95% confidence level Advocate 50% 15% 34% 9% Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD
  10. 10. BRAND ADVOCATES USE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA Search and social media play a significant role in brand advocates’ lives, and is an important way they choose to communicate and relate to others. An advocate is 119% more likely to use instant messenger and 40% more likely to use Podcasts than their non-advocate counterparts. They are engaged with a variety of online tools including: • • • • • • Instant messaging Community sites Discussion and chat sites Online photo sharing sites Blogs Search I DO THE FOLLOWING ONLINE ACTIVITIES SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK… Advocate Non-advocate 87% 74% 45% 44% 19% Use a search engine Watch an online video clip 44% 16% Communicate with people from online communities groups 40% 15% Read a friend or family member's blog 38% 14% Answer, comment, or give an opinion online Among those who participate in activities - Yellow value indicates a significant difference at a 95% confidence level 32% 10% Post and share pictures online 8% Write on my own blog/message board entry 10
  11. 11. HOW MANY PEOPLE BELONG TO YOUR…? And they have wider online social circles. Social Media and Purchase Decisions: A greater proportion of brand advocates use social media, and they are using these tools to help make purchase decisions. Advocates are twice as likely to email someone for their opinion and almost four times as likely to ask or post a question online. They are also three times as likely to instant message someone for more information than non-advocates. (BASE: AMONG THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE IN THESE ONLINE BEHAVIORS) INSTANT MESSAGE LIST 14 people people 18 10 INTERNET PHOTO SITE LIST 13 4 ONLINE COMMUNITY In addition, they search online more than non-advocates, and rely on search more often for research prior to purchase. Based on clickstream data, advocates conduct an average of 25% more searches per month than non-advocates. 27 24 11 PERSONAL BLOG LIST Advocate Non-advocate Base (Advocate/Non-advocate who participate in activities) IM (732/930); BLOG (545/378); PHOTO SITE (712/668); COMMUNITY (661/746) Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 11
  12. 12. BRAND ADVOCATES USE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA When it comes to purchasing, advocates are heavier researchers – and seriously consider at least one more brand when making purchases. MEAN NUMBER OF SOURCES USED PRIOR TO PURCHASE Advocate Non-advocate 3.6 2.2 CONSUMER ELECTRONICS 4.1 2.6 HOME LOANS 4.5 2.8 HOTELS Base (Advocate/Non-advocate who purchased in the past 6 months/CE is 3 months) AUTO (196/382); CE (257/348); TRAVEL (176/447); HOME LOAN (195/299) Yellow box indicates a significant difference at a 95% confidence level AUTOS 2.9 2.1 12
  13. 13. They use search and social media to help them with purchase decisions. DID YOU USE A SEARCH ENGINE DURING YOUR SHOPPING PROCESS... (SCORES ACROSS 4 RECRUITED PURCHASES) WHAT DID YOU DO PRIOR TO YOUR PURCHASE… (MEAN: ACROSS 11 PURCHASE CATEGORIES) 27% Read a consumer online product review 49% 19% Autos Read a professional or expert online product review Email someone to ask his/her opinion 29% 26% 16% 52% Consumer Electronics 34% 24% 38% 13% Home Loans Instant message someone about his/her opinion 18% 22% 54% 12% Hotels 40% 20% Ask or post a question online Text message or send a picture via cell phone to someone about his/her opinion 10% 18% 10% Advocate (820); Non-advocate (1477) Yellow value indicates a significant difference at a 95% confidence level Advocate Non-advocate Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 13
  14. 14. BRAND ADVOCATES USE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA When considering brands prior to purchase, advocates are more open to options and influence compared to non-advocates. In using two respected scales of loyalty - the Burke SCI Scale and Net Promoter Score - it was found that once a purchase is made, brand advocates are significantly more loyal to the brand purchase, and are more likely to repurchase or recommend the specific brand than nonadvocates. Burke SCI Scale© - “Loyalist Scores” 53% 48% 32% Autos 47% Consumer Electronics 47% 37% 36% Home Loans 37% Hotels Advocate Net Promoter Score - “Likelihood to Recommend” Non-advocate 66% At the end of the purchase process, advocates are more brand loyal. 55% 36% 42% 40% 31% 29% 14% Autos Consumer Electronics Home Loans Yellow value Indicates a significant difference at a 95% confidence level Hotels 14
  15. 15. I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT MY PURCHASE ONLINE… They talk about their purchases online. Advocate 52% Non-advocate Autos 20% 56% Consumer Electronics 27% 59% Home Loans 30% 44% Hotels 15% Base (Advocate/Non-advocate): Auto (196/392); CE (243/307); Loans (176/447); Hotel (195/299) Yellow value indicates significant difference at 95% confidence Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 15
  16. 16. SPHERE OF INFLUENCE OF THE BRAND ADVOCATE Brand advocates use their social circles to evangelize brands. Brand advocates are better connected and have larger online social circles than non-advocates. Across a number of online communication tools, on average, brand advocates have over twice as many people on their contact lists than non-advocates. Advocates evangelize your brand by telling others about their purchases. Despite being a smaller proportion of the population, brand advocates reach 25 to 30% more consumers through word-of-mouth than their nonadvocate counterparts. 16
  17. 17. HOW MANY PEOPLE DID YOU TELL ABOUT YOUR PURCHASE…? AUTOS 20.3 CONSUMER ELECTRONICS 14.7 7.2 HOTELS 11.1 5.2 HOME LOANS 9.2 4.5 people 8.2 people Advocates tell twice as many people about their purchases as non-advocates. Advocate Non-advocate Base (Advocate/Non-advocate who purchased in the past 6 months/CE is 3 months) AUTO (196/382); CE (257/348); TRAVEL (176/447); HOME LOAN (195/299) Yahoo! Search Marketing Proprietary and Confidential. ©2006 All Rights Reserved Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 17
  18. 18. SPHERE OF INFLUENCE OF THE BRAND ADVOCATE PROJECTED NUMBER WHO HEARD ABOUT PURCHASES COMSCORE ESTIMATES BASED ON ~144 MILLION 18YRS+ ONLINE Across categories, although advocates represent a smaller group online, their reach through online and offline word-of- Advocate AUTOS 105M people Non-advocate 69M people CONSUMER ELECTRONICS 114M 68M HOME LOANS 31M 24M HOTELS 108M 79M mouth is significant. 18
  19. 19. Reach example for: Autos Computing the value of a brand advocate – for automotive marketers, a brand advocate’s influence reaches 52% more people than non-advocates. 38% are brand advocates ~5.1 million ~144M U.S. INTERNET ADULTS 9.4% or ~13.5 million X = 105 million people people on average people purchased a vehicle in the past 6 months 20 62% are nonadvocates ~8.3 million X 8 total number of people who heard about purchase = 69 million people Base (Advocate/Non-advocate who purchased in the past 6 months/CE is 3 months) AUTO (196/382); CE (257/348); TRAVEL (176/447); HOME LOAN (195/299) Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 19
  20. 20. SPHERE OF INFLUENCE OF THE BRAND ADVOCATE “Lynette: My friend Michael wants a Toyota Corolla. Interviewer: Is he looking at any other brands? Lynette: No, pretty much through me he knows that Toyota is the best... he learned that from me. He said ‘I’d totally take this car’ after I took him for a ride in my car and told him things about it.” - Lynette, 23, San Jose, CA 20
  21. 21. % WHO HAVE RECOMMENDED THE PURCHASE TO A FRIEND At least one friend purchased recommended brand Advocate Non-advocate 14% 67% Advocates not only talk about their purchases, but are more likely to recommend them… and their friends Autos 6% 43% 83% 21% Consumer Electronics 6% 56% listen. 66% 26% Home Loans 46% 9% 59% 15% Hotels 53% Base (Advocate/Non-advocate): Auto (196/392); CE (243/307); Loans (176/447); Hotel (195/299) Yellow value indicates significant difference at 95% confidence 6% Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 21
  22. 22. SPHERE OF INFLUENCE OF THE BRAND ADVOCATE Conversion example for: Autos An advocate’s impact on other peoples’ purchases 38% are brand advocates ~144M U.S. INTERNET ADULTS 9.4% or ~13.5 million people purchased a vehicle in the past 6 months ~5.1 million people X 14% = 718K number of friends who purchased recommended cars ~8.3 million people 62% are nonadvocates X 6% = 502K 22
  23. 23. ...AND AS A RESULT MY FRIEND ALSO MADE THE SAME PURCHASE I MADE (ESTIMATED NUMBER OF FRIENDS WHO MADE A PURCHASE) Based on these projections, marketers can see the power and value of reaching a brand advocate. Advocates have a near 2-to-1 conversion impact across categories. Advocate AUTOS Non-advocate 718K 502K cars CONSUMER ELECTRONICS HOME LOANS HOTELS 1.6M $300+ CE 888K Applied loans 1.5M hotel rooms Base (Advocate/Non-advocate): Auto (196/392); CE (243/307); Loans (176/447); Hotel (195/299) cars 570K $300+ CE 480K Applied loans 909K hotel rooms Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 23
  24. 24. SPHERE OF INFLUENCE OF THE BRAND ADVOCATE I want the world to listen to me Frequency of advocacy - Traveling salesman, St. Louis, MO I’m an expert in the domain The SelfPromoter The Expert Someone else asks for advice Over-thefencer Passive Influencer Drive-by “When I’ve had a really good experience, I like to tell everyone... When I’ve had a bad experience, I feel obligated to let others know.” Brand advocates want to help people feel knowledgeable about purchases and make smarter decisions. They also believe that people’s opinions are valuable and trustworthy, and are at least twice as likely to write about the purchases they made online than nonadvocates. Approximately 90% of them are actually writing something positive about a purchase they made. This research shows that brand advocates are more likely to share positive experiences than negative ones. I want to be part of a community I feel obligated Personal stake in advocacy Sources: Ethnographic Research - Create with Context 24
  25. 25. I GIVE MY OPINIONS ONLINE REGARDING PRODUCTS PURCHASES BECAUSE... (STRONGLY AGREE - 5 ON 1-5PT. SCALE) 58% …I want to help people Community drives opinion sharing in social media ... and advocates are more likely to talk about positive experiences. 53% 29% 47% …I want others to make smarter purchase decisions 31% 33% 16% 57% …I've had good experiences with a product 36% 54% …other people could benefit from my perspective 34% 50% …I've have bad experiences with a product …it feels great to be heard Advocate (820); Non-advocate (1477) Yellow value Indicates a significant difference at a 95% confidence level Non-advocate 34% …I would want to know before I buy things …helps me feel connected to people Advocate 40% 36% 17% Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 25
  26. 26. VALUE OF THE BRAND ADVOCATE “People look to me for my opinion because I’ve made a name for myself on my blog.” WHO ARE BRAND ADVOCATES AND WHY ARE THEY VALUABLE TO MARKETERS? • • - Small business owner, St. Louis, MO • • • “I like to let others know, to help them out, on their search.” They are better connected consumers with a larger sphere of influence. They are avid researchers and consider more brands, making them more open to dialogue with marketers. Post-purchase, they have higher levels of brand commitment. They are more likely to recommend brands, and tend to talk about positive experiences. They are opinion leaders - influencing other peoples’ purchase decisions. Advocates tell at least twice as many people about their purchases than non-advocates – and, they are more than twice as likely to persuade their network to buy. - Actor, NYC Distinct opportunities exist to engage and influence advocates, as well as amplify the influence of those favorable to your brand. 26
  27. 27. REACHING AND ENGAGING BRAND ADVOCATES IMPLICATIONS FOR MARKETERS HOW YAHOO! CAN HELP DELIVER THE OPPORTUNITY The internet provides a powerful opportunity to credibly “megaphone” your message. Understand the brand advocate mind-set. • • • Act like an advocate. • • • • Join a group on Yahoo! groups or in message boards. Upload your favorite photos to Flickr or Yahoo! Photos. Create and share content online (text, video, images) through Yahoo! Mail or Instant Messenger. Create a review or a trip plan on Yahoo! Travel. Read reviews of cars on Yahoo! Autos. Create a page on Yahoo! 360. Ask a question on a social search site like Yahoo! Answers. Once you understand how consumers use these tools, find media partners that can share best practices and help you engage with your advocates in a meaningful and authentic way. Advocates are open to a dialogue with marketers. Engage with advocates on their own terms. Advocates are active participants in their communities and are more likely to search, blog, post reviews and share photos. Work with media partners to understand how to authentically become part of the community’s conversation, in a way that weaves your brand into the fabric of the community itself. • • • • • Provide a tool or service that is consistent with your brand’s promise (e.g., a camera manufacturer providing photo sharing for enthusiasts on Yahoo! Photos). Sponsor an enthusiast site that brings a community together (e.g., an auto manufacturer sponsoring a site dedicated to one of their models on Yahoo! Autos). Dedicate a customer service representative to monitor sites like Yahoo! Answers and provide helpful suggestions (e.g., a bank providing unbiased guidance on establishing a checking account). Purchase “advocate keywords” such as queries for product reviews, comparison shopping, or productivity tools/calculators, and lead searchers to credible user and professional reviews that are favorable to your product and brand. Consider unique landing pages that incorporate features that engage advocates (e.g., reviews, live chat, comparison tables or message boards). These sites can be self-owned or powered by media partners or retailers. Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 27
  28. 28. REACHING AND ENGAGING BRAND ADVOCATES IMPLICATIONS FOR MARKETERS HOW YAHOO! CAN HELP DELIVER THE OPPORTUNITY Align social media with overall marketing objectives.  Measure the impact. Establish a business strategy and objectives to engage and enlist advocates online. Identify ways to gauge and measure effectiveness. Develop realistic timelines. • • • • Determine the role that advocates can play in furthering your business objectives (e.g., use positive user reviews in online marketing campaigns, add an online review component to new product development, or invite your most loyal users to share their opinions). Work with your media partners to create measurement around advocate’s interactions with your brand, time spent, viral distribution or buzz factor). Measure engagement (e.g., time spent, email or catalog registration, download of a brochure, posting of reviews) and incorporate these measures within your keyword selection and bid strategy. Treat social media as a long-term investment in your brand, and continually test and refine based on your learnings. 28
  29. 29. Original Research by Yahoo! Inc. Project Directors: Sebastian Fernandez Manager, Market Insights, Yahoo! Search Marketing Anne Frisbie Vice President, Category, Yahoo! Search Marketing Michele Madansky, Ph.D Vice President, Sales Research, Yahoo! Inc. Erika Perzi Hermanns Senior Marketing Manager, Yahoo! Search Marketing Edwin H. Wong Senior Manager, Sales Research, Yahoo! Search Marketing Research commissioned by Yahoo! and OMD 29
  30. 30. Research inquiries may be directed to: Edwin H. Wong Senior Research Manager Yahoo! Inc. 3333 Empire Avenue Burbank, CA 91504 Sebastian Fernandez Market Insights Manager Yahoo! Inc. 3333 Empire Avenue Burbank, CA 91504 GNIGAGNE SETACOVDA aideM laicoS dna hcraeS hguorhT 30