Word-Of-Mouth Remains Vital To Consumers During COVID-19
by Ed Keller, Columnist
The COVID-19 pandemic may have cleared out offices, public transit, bars, restaurants, and social gatherings, but Americans have continued to enjoy their gift for gab when it comes to talking about and recommending brands.
Compared to a year ago, consumer talk is up by double digits in social media. Yet despite social distancing rules, real-world offline word-of-mouth conversations are also up 2% between April and July, compared to the same time last year. During this period, that amounts to 14 billion weekly word-of-mouth impressions about products, services and brands.
Consumer conversations are important because they have been shown to motivate 19% of consumer sales, with online and offline conversations playing equally important roles. Yet there is no correlation between online and offline conversations, making it important to pay attention to both.
While offline conversations are up 2%, how and where those conversations are occurring has changed somewhat. For starters, a larger percentage now occur at home, with more people hunkered down and avoiding going out. About 70% of all conversations about consumer categories and brands now occur at home, versus about 63% prior to the pandemic. The increase became most noticeable the first week of April and hit 70% by the end of that month.
Two-thirds of those conversations at home are happening face-to-face with other household members, but many involve telephone, text, email to people outside of the home, providing ways for people to share information about products and services with each other at social distance. Indeed, we believe word-of-mouth has become more important as consumers are seeking help from each other as they navigate their changed lives. As we reported recently, increasing word-of-mouth conversation activity related to health and healthcare (+29%), household products (+18%), beauty (+16%), entertainment (+13%), and financial services (+10%) are indications of the changing needs of consumers amid the pandemic.
Read the full MediaPost article, here.
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