Monday, August 13

Liking It Now: The Attention Generation

A recent study by Performics, a marketing firm owned by Publicis Groupe, finds that 49 percent of respondents prefer text messages over phone calls and 40 percent are more comfortable connecting with people online than in person. In other words, more people are connecting to social networks but disconnecting offline.

It seems participation also comes with expectation, with 49 percent of social network members annoyed, sad, hurt, or even angry when people do not like their status updates. In fact, 75 percent expect a response and 41 percent expect a response within the hour. Others, 21 percent, expect responses in 1-6 hours.

Social life is changing behavioral etiquette.

While it is no surprise that online on demand has become increasingly dominant, some people might be surprised just how much time is being invested in maintaining online connections. In an average week, for example, women spend 9.4 hours on their mobile phones (outside of texts, phone calls, and other connections) and men 5.8 hours. That doesn't even count other devices like tablets and desktops.

Even when people are engaged in other activities, they are likely to remain connected. Approximately 55 percent say they watch TV, movies or video on their computer at least once a week while 29 percent watch on game consoles and 28 percent watch on mobile devices. Multi-tasking has become the norm.

Naturally, the study was undertaken to assist marketers in understanding the behavioral changes in consumers. One notable finding was that individuals frequently place brands and people on equal status.
"These new participants are comfortable increasingly replacing real-time communications with social media interactions," said Daina Middleton, global CEO of Performics. "In this new social normal — one where people prefer online communication and maintain high expectations about two-way relationships — brands must utilize social channels to build exceptional, interactive digital experiences."

Basically, people want brands and brand representatives to interact with them like people, including reciprocal acknowledgment. However, brand managers ought to be cautious in overreaching. While online participants expect responses, other studies show interruptive marketing has negative outcomes.

Consumers, after all, are in transition. While social networking has become the new normal, it also comes with unintended consequences. As more think that social media runs the risk of making us less social, marketers have to avoid becoming part of the problem by inflating urgency for no reason.

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