Changing consumer behaviour & its impact on brand communications
There’s no doubt that we’re living in a world of ‘information overload’. Whether it’s browsing your smartphone screen in between TV ad breaks or listening to a podcast while getting the latest Whatsapp update from your friends, you’re probably stuck to a screen and inundated with information all day long.
As well as being constantly ‘switched on’ and having access to information on almost every topic out there, there are also plenty of channels to choose from. Now, that’s pretty amazing on a personal level (I for one love the fact that YouTube recipe tutorials means I have the power to become a chef from the comfort of my very own home). But from a brand perspective this wealth of information presents some challenges. On one hand, consumers are feeling more empowered than ever to seek out information that’s relevant to them, which opens up opportunities to create genuine and authentic relationships with customers. But on the other, it means brands are up against a sea of competition all vying for consumers’ attention. And with so much noise to compete with it can be incredibly difficult to get your message heard.
So, how do you get heard and stand out from the crowd? Let’s take a look at a few of the changes in consumer behaviour for some ideas around creating more meaningful connections with your customers…
There are now so many devices to choose from (smartphones, tablets, Apple watches – the list goes on). And the way consumers interact with these devices is changing the way information is consumed too. The Google Consumer Barometer Report revealed that three quarters of the UK population use another device while watching television. The report, which was based on over 600,000 interviews with consumers worldwide, found that the trend was most adopted by those aged under 25 and the average Brit uses 3.3 devices that are connected to the Internet. This change in behaviour means that not only are attention spans limited, but that consumers want to view content on different devices at different times. This presents an opportunity to create a multi-channel campaign that can keep people interested on a variety of different screens. Whether it’s producing a TV ad that pushes people to find out more online or it’s concentrating on targeted social media ads during particular TV spots, now’s the time to get creative with your second-screen advertising.
Living in a constantly switched on world means that most of us are used to getting the information we want when we want it. Whether it’s Googling the answer to a question or watching a how-to video to get something done, we all want information instantly. The digital landscape has obviously had a monumental impact on this thirst for information. The Ofcom Communications Market Report 2018 revealed that UK adults spend an average of 24 hours a week online, double the amount of time spent in 2007. So what does this all mean for brand communications? Well, investing in content marketing is one thing - creating relevant content that reaches people at the right time on the right channel is crucial to stand out in the digital age. And it’s also worth investing in more immediate content formats. Whether that’s video content, FAQs, how-to guides or top tips, giving your audience information that’s easy to digest and available when they want it is crucial in creating a connection.
You’ve probably seen this stat floating around the Internet and whether or not it’s completely true, there’s no denying that video content is constantly in demand and it can increase engagement levels. YouTube is the second most popular social media platform in the UK and according to Hubspot 45% of people watch an hour or more of video a day. Google also reports that almost 50% of people look for a video before visiting a store. To really engage and get your message heard, video should definitely form part of your overall marketing mix.
When developing and building websites, brands have had to consider the impact of mobile. Creating responsive websites and making sure content is viewable on a mobile device has always been an important step. But now it’s arguably THE most important step because mobile is often the first (and sometimes only) device consumers use to access information and engage with your brand. Last year’s Ofcom report revealed that 72% of UK adults use their mobile to access the Internet and smartphones are the preferred device over all others (36% of time spent online at home is on a smartphone).
The use of voice search is on the rise. Voice searches are up 35X since 2008 and the number of voice units being shipped has gone from 1.7m devices in 2015 to approximately 25m in 2017. Devices like Alexa and Google Home have impacted the way many of us search for information and so inevitably brands have had to adapt. If you’re not already looking into the technology, consider how your customers are currently searching for you and optimise your on-site content to make sure you’re extending your reach beyond the keyboard.