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BizReport : Advertising : June 17, 2010

Study: Internet's affect on WOM as good as television

From product placements to infomercials, television has been the reigning king of Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing for decades. But there is a not-so new competitor on the block, who may surprise many brands. According to a recent study the Internet has as good an impact for WOM efforts as television.

by Kristina Knight

Why? This study, conducted by researchers with Keller Fay, points to the conversations happening online that are more interactive than television options. Specifically, social media, bulletin boards and reviews. Researchers found that, although only about 7% of branded WOM effort occur online, nearly 40% of consumers have been impacted either online or offline by word of mouth.

Comparatively, WOM efforts on television or in print publications have stagnated over the past few months; in January online WOM references increased by 15%. In January 2009 online WOM increased by 12%.

The brand categories most likely to be effected by online WOM efforts are the financial and automotive sectors. WOM is said to have a 17% impact on finance in online arenas while only having an 8% impact through television.

Researchers from Yahoo! and Keller Fay collaborated on the study, which found that the people populating social networks and bulletin boards are quite good at WOM marketing - even those who know nothing about WOM efforts. These consumers, according to the study, are active proponents of solid brands with products they love and active dissidents of products which don't work according to directions.

These so-called Conversation Catalysts are now seen as the most valuable segment for WOM efforts because of the consumer component. By giving the consumer access to sharing their opinions and thoughts, brands make them part of the team; these consumers then tell friends, family and groups they belong to about the products making a difference for them.

Tags: Internet, Keller Fay, television, wom advertising, word of mouth, Yahoo

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