How do consumers engage with brands in an increasingly digital world? That’s the fundamental question we set out to answer with this year’s FEED report.
FEED: Past, Present, and Future
This marks a significant shift in focus for our research. Our past studies have been almost exclusively concerned with charting how consumer behavior adapts to advances in Internet technology and web services. This still fascinates us, of course, but this year we are broadening our attention toward exploring how consumers interact with brands online. What does the future hold for brands when everything is just a click away? If consumers really are in control, what can we learn from their interaction with brands today?
Digital Brand Experiences Create Customers
The answer we found is that digital brand experiences are not just “awareness” or “conversion” plays, but customer-creation plays. According to our research, the overwhelming majority of consumers who actively engage with a brand digitally—whether by entering a contest, “friending” a brand on Facebook, or even watching an advert on YouTube—show dramatic upticks across the entire marketing funnel. Simply put, digital brand experiences create customers.
Goodbye Ad Wars, Hello Engagement Wars
Our findings lead us to believe that marketers need to dramatic-ally rethink their future strategies, shifting the majority of their efforts toward actively engaging consumers—whether online or offline—and not simply settling for awareness or impressions. The advertising industry has had some legendary ad wars over the past decades: Coke versus Pepsi and Apple versus Microsoft, for example. But the arena for those battles will change as the era of the 30-second spot makes way for the era of digital brand experiences. In today’s increasingly digital world, the experience is the message.
We believe that our findings provide a new perspective on how technology is fundamentally altering the evolving relationship between brands and consumers, mostly for the better. We hope you’ll agree.
Group Vice President, Experience Planning