Influencing the Influencers

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December 2006

www.doubleclick.com

Influencing the Influencers: How Online Advertising and Media Impact Word of Mouth A DoubleClick Touchpoints IV Focus Report
By Heath Row, Research Manager, DoubleClick Additional analysis and editing by Rick E. Bruner, Research Director, DoubleClick

Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary..................................................................2 2. Objectives ................................................................................2 3. Key Findings ............................................................................3 a. Influencers Cite Web Ads as a Key Shopping Aid ........................3 b. Behavior of Influencers Varies by Product Category ......................4 c. Influencers Are Ad Savvy ..........................................................5 d. Influencers Love Digital: Basic Internet and Emerging Media ..........7

4. Conclusions..............................................................................7 5. Methodology ............................................................................8 6. Recommended Resources........................................................9 7. About DoubleClick ..................................................................10

EMPOWERING ORIGINALS SINCE 1996

Influencing the Influencers: How Online Advertising and Media Impact Word of Mouth

Executive Summary
“Word of mouth” is a hot topic in marketing these days. Indeed, in DoubleClick Touchpoints, our annual survey of online consumers, we have routinely seen respondents select “word of mouth” as a key factor that influences their purchase decisions across most product categories. But, aside from sending your product to your hundred favorite bloggers, how can marketers efficiently spend marketing dollars to influence word of mouth? That was a key question we set out to answer in our 2006 DoubleClick Touchpoints IV survey. This year, DoubleClick identified more than 1,000 influencers among the 6,000-plus Touchpoints respondents: active networkers, subject matter experts, bloggers, and online community participants. That key audience segment reports that websites in general, and web advertising in particular, are key sources of influence for them. In this focus report, we examine the following key findings: • Influencers cite web advertising as the second most important source for learning more about products after websites; they are much more likely to cite web ads for this than non-influencers How influencers shop varies considerably from one product category to another Influencers pay attention to ads, positively and negatively Influencers use more of all media, particularly the Internet, and they embrace emerging media

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Objectives
There is a body of research establishing that certain people have more influence than others on how their friends, family and associates make purchase decisions. Books have been written about them, research firms are studying them, and boutique marketing firms specialize in finding them. The very ideas of word of mouth marketing and buzz marketing have themselves become all the buzz in the world of marketing. Yet, we still do not fully understand how word of mouth works or how marketers can best leverage it. Direct marketers often question any practice that does not lead directly from an ad exposure to a purchase, but that is not how most people normally buy things. The way we decide what to purchase is much more nuanced, and word of mouth plays a strong role, as four years of data from the DoubleClick Touchpoints survey demonstrates. This year, we expanded the Touchpoints IV survey to identify a segment of influencers to examine how this key audience segment reaches purchase decisions. Influencers are active networkers, detail lovers, opinion sharers – the kinds of people described in the books The Influentials by Jon Berry and Ed Keller and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. (Refer to...
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