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Digital Marketer report:

What are your customers doing online?

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Experian has recently published the latest version of its annual digital benchmark report, updated to reflect consumer behaviors and preferences in 2010. The 2010 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and trend report is designed to help marketers better connect with consumers as companies worldwide continue to shift to digital channels at a faster pace. Set to answer the questions of who are our customers, how do they behave and what motivates them, the paper presents and analyzes a wealth of online data, providing actionable answers on consumer behaviour and different online marketing channels.

Make informed decisions based on data

Given the current economic climate, is more important than ever to empower our marketing and advertising activities with as much data as possible and make informed decisions about the best channels to reach our target consumers. Most of the data on this research paper comes from the US market, so while it’s not directly applicable to the situation in EMEA today, it can give businesses a heads up on the upcoming trends for the following 12-18 months.

One of the key findings from the 2010 Digital Marketer is that online shopping has become a mainstream activity for adults ages 25-49 and more than 70% of consumers across all age

groups research and compare prices online before making a purchase. This situation is not that different in Europe: while in the US ecommerce accounts for 16,52% of revenue to businesses, in Europe (EU27) ecommerce represents approximately 12% of enterprises’ turnover (but with great differences between countries). 


Media they can't live without, by age

There is also a great gap on media consumption behaviour regarding age. While those among age groups 18-24 and 25-34 tend to use more instant messaging, text messaging, mobile phones and social sites for information and entertainment, while older consumers, specially those older than 50 years old preferring to use email and internet through a landline. This data paints us a picture of a generation permanently online, always connected and constantly consuming and distributing information among peers. Unsurprisingly, email remains one of the only constants of online behaviour, with 80-90% of US consumers having sent or received an email for the last 30 days.


Sent or received in the last 30 days, by age

Channels to reach the consumer: email, mobile, social media

That email maintains its resilience as a communication channel means that its use in promotional and marketing communication will continue to grow in the next years. A current trend seems to be emails promoting in-store visits. This type of cross-channel message grew 50% from 2008 to 2009. Another interesting stat for ecommerce sites is that on shopping and classifieds websites, the share of upstream traffic coming from web based email reached 9%.

The changes on media consumption that favour mobile phones as the primary device for information and entertainment are undoubtedly fuelled by the surge of smartphone platforms and devices. According to Gartner, sales of smartphones rose 48.7% in Q1 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, and accounted for 17.3% of all mobile handset sales. This wave will increase dramatically the number of mobile web users, and will open new fields in mobile marketing as search, display, social networks and location based services will become viable channels for consumer communication. Younger people tend to embrace these new forms of advertising as they find the ads and commercial text messages more useful than older generations. 

As for social media and social networking, there are now more than 5.580 social networks beyond top sites, without taking into account services like Ning, through which more than 1 million networks were created. According to data from Experian Hitwise, 10% of visits from US consumers during November 2009 belonged to social networking sites.


Monthly market share of visits to social networking Websites


More than half of the visits continue to be from users under the age of 34, but the audience is increasingly shifting towards and older demographic. This trend is going to make social networks attractive to even more marketers and advertisers as the audience in social networks starts to mirror the general population. Facebook and Myspace continue to be the most popular sites for social networking, but Twitter is experiencing enormous growth: 585% increase in visits in November 2009 from the previous year, according to Experian Hitwise.

Regarding search, Google is still the king. The top search engine accounts for most of our searches online, globally, between 71% in the US to 96% in Brazil. UK (and I would guess, the rest of Europe), lays in between, at 89%. An interesting fact is that most of the searches tend to be branded and navigational and comprised of only 1-2 keywords.

Download the full report

The report contains trend information, predictive benchmark data and analytical insight from across the marketing landscape, providing a more accurate and complete understanding of the digital consumer. Channels such as email, digital advertising, mobile, search, online communities and social media are analyzed in the report, which also provides insight on the multichannel attitudes and behaviors of consumers today. The report’s goal is to help businesses from all industries drive their 2010 programs and return on investment goals.

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