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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : February 03, 2009


Hitwise: Steady growth in 'e-book' searches

Hitwise's Robin Goad has released data regarding searches for e-books. His findings have revealed a steady growth in searches for the term, demonstrating a continued interest in digital reading. Marketers can easily integrate e-books into their marketing strategy, driving traffic and creating awareness and taking advantage of the potential viral aspect of e-books.

by Helen Leggatt

hitwise logo2.gifThe latest data from Hitwise shows that e-books, while not quite ready to knock their paper cousins off the shelves, are gaining interest among consumers. Hitwise analyst Robin Goad found that interest has been building since September 2008, with peaks in the run up to Christmas.

Within the last year, searches for 'e-books' in the U.K. doubled, peaking at Christmas. As Amazon's Kindle is not yet available outside of the U.S., Sony's Reader is the dominant search term in the U.K.. Goad found that the market share of searches for 'Kindle' in the U.S. almost matches that of Sony's Reader in the U.K, relative to population.

As a relatively easy to produce, updateable and flexible unit, marketers should be investigating whether e-books would be a suitable vehicle via which to get their brand and marketing messages in front of consumers.

Distributed free, e-books can have a viral life of their own, and interactive elements can collect consumer data via in-book surveys and forms while coupons and promotional codes will drive traffic to your site. A successful free e-book, perhaps one in which the consumer perceives to have been given 'inside info' or that uses humor to convey a message, can travel via blogs, social networks and message boards as it's recommended and passed on from person to person.

However, e-books don't have to be 'free' and can contribute towards the bottom line. They can be distributed as a reward for a purchase, or an incentive for an action such as providing feedback. Used as additional and relevant sources of information, online retailers can increase product offerings by developing original and engaging content and selling branded e-books. Vendors of camping equipment could provide e-books about campsites, safety, map reading or any variety of topics. What about e-comics for gadget sites? Or a "what not to wear" guide for fashion retailers? The opportunities are endless.






Tags: brand, coupons, e-books, feedback, Hitwise, interactive, marketing message, promotion, purchase








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