Consumers' Digital Engagement Varies Category-by-Category
By Robert Passikoff and Amy Shea, Brand Keys Inc. -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/24/2012 2:26:37 PM
But here is one rule that continues to hold, whether you are talking about how consumers make decisions about brands or how they engage with digital communication platforms: Category matters. Always. Even when those categories are huddled under the same company-logo umbrella, such as 'insurance.'
It's difficult to discern the part digital platforms play in the media-engagement equation. Sure, you can discover easily enough what your current customers are doing in terms of any media, including digital. But paraphrasing Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck, "What you don't know about digital is a lot."
The missing frame in this media movie is how consumers' digital engagement -- not just usage -- operates within the context of total engagement in your category. Knowing exactly how engagement with media -- digital or otherwise -- intersects with what drives it matters a lot.
For instance, digital behaves very differently when you compare, say, the auto insurance category to the property & casualty (P&C) insurance category. And some of those differences become especially vital when trying to make your media dollars work strategically. Here are the top five digital engagement platforms in these two categories:
- Shopping Portal
- Social Network
- Brand's Website
- Shopping Portal
Common to both (they have, after all, been seen bundling up together) are brand messages on browsing and shopping portals, as well as through email. However, when it comes to auto insurance, mobile and social make a strong showing, while, on the P&C side, the brand's website and doing a search are offer stronger consumer engagement.
When you drill down to where engagement with digital platforms and insurance categories meet, a more insightful pattern begins to show. Unless you're Jay Leno, autos are a far less significant investment for consumers than home and property. Doing more background research and hearing from the brand in its own way on its site becomes go-to for P&C insurance shoppers.
And while demographics no longer define the "Higitals" among us-those with high digital involvement in a category, and thus more engaged in platforms such as social and mobile -- it still holds that there is currently a slant toward a younger demo on social and mobile -- namely, a demographic that might own a car but not yet property.
The moral of this story is that one engagement plan does not fit all. But there's some good news -- winter's coming, and some of those cross-category digital usage reports you've been buying may make great draft stoppers.
Passikoff is founder and president of Brand Keys, a global brand and engagement consultancy. He can be reached at email@example.com. Shea is executive VP, director of global brand development at Brand Keys. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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