The explosion of social networking sites defines today's Web 2.0. How do these online gathering places get popular? According to a new research report by Yahoo! and comScore Networks, it only takes a few key vocal individuals to spread the word.
Turns out it's exactly like that famous TV commercial for Faberge Organics shampoo from the late 70s (yes, with Heather Locklear): "If you tell two friends...they'll tell two friends, and so on..and so on...and so on..."
MySpace first friend (and co-founder) Tom Anderson is a prime example of how "pass it along" online recommendations work...at least among his 139 million "friends".
Dubbed "Brand Advocates", these online consumers spread opinions via word of mouth, as well as over social networks, instant messaging, chat, photo sites and blogging. Such advocates have at least a two-to-one rate of converting a "friend" to buy the same exact product or brand they support, according to the report.
These advocates serve as online megaphones allowing advertisers to reach larger audiences.
The study found that Brand Advocates are slightly younger, more educated and spend more time online than do non-advocates.
They conduct an average of 48 searches per month, compared to 39 searches for non advocates; and 76 percent of advocates use search engines to research products prior to making purchases, compared to 64 percent of non-advocates. The more time and effort these advocates put into their own decision making process, the more they talk about their purchases with others.
The study also found that advocates are generally positive in their opinions, with not much bad mouth-mouthing. It says 60 percent of advocates believe that good brands are worth talking about versus 25 percent of non-advocates. Advocates also spend their time promoting a brand more often than negating it, and approximately 90 percent write something positive about a purchase they made.
Another study clarifies "younger" for these Brand Advocates, stating that 40- and 50-something female Boomers are the Advocates spending the most time making recommendations to their friends and the online "friends".
Apparently, they took those shampoos ads to heart.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, January 09, 2007,