For many years, the primary way for consumers to discover and learn about new products was through traditional advertising such as magazine articles, commercials, and billboards. However, with the rise of social media, online marketplaces, and crowdsourcing, traditional advertising methods are no longer sufficient.
The impact of online marketing channels on product purchase depends on many factors including the type of product, its current popularity, and social norms. While there is no question that online marketing channels can be valuable tools for marketing, the decision to purchase a product must also account for other factors such as the brand’s popularity and trustworthiness as well as social and cultural norms.
The Rise of Online Marketplaces
Perhaps the most significant factor influencing the impact of online marketing channels on product purchase is the rise of online marketplaces. Thanks to the invention of the online marketplace, consumers can now easily discover a variety of products, including those that they might not have heard of before. If a consumer clicks on a product’s thumbnail in the online marketplace, they’ll be taken to an individual product page which typically contains more information about the product, including photos, videos, product specifications, reviews, and pricing information. As a result, there is now a variety of options for consumers to learn about products they’re interested in purchasing, whether it’s from the web, on social media, or in person at a retail store.
How Does the Consumer Behavior Change in the Online Marketing World?
When consumers discover new products on the web, they’ll often click on a product’s thumbnail, take a look at its description, and maybe even read a few reviews before making a purchase decision. Thanks to the rise of online marketplaces, this is now the norm rather than the exception when it comes to product discovery.
While this is typically a good thing, it can also have a downside. Since the options for consumers to learn about products have proliferated, competing brands and businesses might be battling for a share of consumer’s attention and purchasing power. Thanks to the rise of clickbait, the amount of time users spend on social media platforms, and the increasing influence of content marketing, marketers need to be mindful of how they engage with customers through online marketing channels to ensure their intentions are to provide helpful and valuable content as opposed to simply attracting clicks and shares.
The Increasing Role of Technology
Not only has the rise of online marketing channels changed consumer behavior when it comes to discovering new products, but it has also altered the way manufacturers and retailers operate. Instead of relying on traditional advertising methods to gain customer awareness and trust, companies are now able to use various tools to track the behavior of millions of customers, identify prospective buyers, and gain insight into customer preferences.
Thanks to the increasing role of technology in our daily lives, marketers have access to a wealth of customer data which they can analyze and act on. As a result, customer experience is no longer a passive undertaking, but an active one where marketers ensure that each interaction with a customer is designed to provide the best possible experience. This means that customer expectations are constantly evolving and changing as marketing continues to evolve and change alongside them.
The Increasing Popularity of Online Reviews
Another significant trend in the way consumers choose to learn about products is the increasing popularity of online reviews. For many years, customers had to rely on companies and brands to provide them with honest and unbiased product reviews in magazine articles, websites, and commercials. However, thanks to the rise of online communities and review platforms, such as Yelp, Google Reviews, and others, consumers can now find a wealth of product reviews, both positive and negative, and make better informed decisions as a result.
Not only do reviews provide customers with information about a product’s quality and value, but they also allow businesses to have a conversation with potential customers, build credibility, and provide some measure of reassurance that their business is a safe and reputable one. Because of this, it is not surprising that more than half of North Americans access online reviews before making a purchase decision, according to HubSpot Blogs research.
The Rise of Social Media
Last but not least, the rise of social media has truly changed the way customers interact with businesses and brands. It’s no longer enough for companies to have an advertisement in a magazine or on television; they now have to have a social media account as well.
Thanks to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as blogging platforms like WordPress and LiveJournal, customers can now directly interact with businesses and brands, responding to their posts with comments or sharing their content to gain even more attention.
As a marketing strategy, businesses can now gain insight into what consumers are saying about them on social media, allowing marketing professionals to understand and respond to any crises or opportunities that might arise. Moreover, since social media posts are typically accessible to the public, businesses can no longer rely on customers to come back and tell them what they want or need. They now have to be present on social media platforms to be able to monitor and respond to consumer interaction and feedback.
Why Should Marketers and Businesses Be Ready to Reevaluate the Impact of Online Marketing Channels on Product Purchase?
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a marketer, businessperson, or someone who works with both. If not, maybe it’s time to consider reevaluating the role of online marketing channels on product purchase as you move forward into the new year.
Being relevant, engaging with customers, and having a positive impact on brand loyalty and purchase decisions are all crucial in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape. Thanks to the numerous tools, platforms, and applications available to marketers, it is possible to get to the crux of these issues even before getting started with your next marketing campaign.
Consider looking at 2018 retrospectively and identifying the ways in which your business’ and brands’ performance relied, or didn’t rely, on online marketing channels. You might be surprised by how much the role of online marketing channels changed the game, and perhaps the way you do business.