Leading Spark and Resource for Word of Mouth Conversations


Is the answer really the Web?

A recently published study from Google/Keller Fay Group Study* found that:

  1. Word of Mouth conversations still predominantly take place face to face. 93% of word of mouth (WOM) brand impressions occur offline.
  2. The Internet is both the leading spark of WOM conversations and the #1 resource utilized to take action after conversation. Search impacts more than 15% of all Word of Mouth conversations.
  3. Google is the #1 spark of Word of Mouth conversations and the #1 place people turn to after conversations for more information.
  4. Google directly informs 146 million brand conversations a day.
  5. Word of Mouth impressions generated by search are 25% more credible and 17% more likely to lead to purchase than those generated by online social media sites.

True, we still get things done through search vs. in social networks.

When we discover something, in this case a brand, we're more prone to being influenced by that discovery in our search behavior, than we are by a direct pitch, or casual recommendations. I found it vs. it found me still matters, even as we are wading through more and more information online to get there.

As the study says, search, and Google specifically, informs 146MM of conversations a day, more than 15% of all conversations.

Is this good news for organizations that are setting out to build great products, and brands? How many of you search for information on your favorite brands before making a purchase? It depends, right?

A brand and product that connects and resonates with people is a brand that will be sought after in line at the stores the day of the launch. Information still drives the way we make many decisions. Strong and resilient businesses that know what they're about and deliver on their promises become destinations — online and offline.

The businesses that focus on owning their vision and delivering on it in their product, making the person using it the focus, communicating in a way that is coherent and consistent — even controlling, so that the signal to noise ratio is high — forge connections that go beyond comparisons.

They do that even when they decide that no, that new feature is not going to improve the product. They are the leading spark and resource for word of mouth conversations. And many are already getting close to their customers beyond the web, and social networks, in their pockets.

Yes, it's early days for mobile applications. It sounds to me that we would be having an incomplete conversation if we didn't include the third screen in our thinking, and all behaviors in our doings. More thoughts on this later today.

What do you think? Is this a social network vs. a search engine war or is there more involved?


* Source Google/Keller Fay Group, Word of Mouth and the Internet Study, June 2011

[h/t Stowe Boyd]

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