Face-to-face is still the dominant form of word-of-mouth, accounting for 72% of brand-related conversations last year, according to a report [download page] from Engagement Labs. While online conversations about brands has grown in recent years, the study notes that the “most impressive trend” over the past decade has been the extent to which digital content is referenced in brand conversations.
Indeed, last year, 24% of brand-related conversations referenced digital content, more than double the share (11%) from early 2008. This suggests that digital content is impacting offline conversations, given that most word-of-mouth is offline.
Not surprisingly, the biggest growth in digital content referenced is seen with social media. Branded social content is now referenced in 5.4% of all word-of-mouth, about quadruple its share from 2008 (1.3%). All digital content references have grown since 2008, with consumer reviews (4%, up from 1.6%) also seeing a strong increase, though brand websites (6.3%) are the leading source of digitally-referenced content.
So who talks the most about digital content? On a racial or ethnic basis, Asians (30%) and Hispanics (27%) over-index by the largest degree, with African-Americans (26%) close behind. Fathers (27%) and teens (27%) are also above-average in their digital content references, while women (22%) and mothers (23%) fall slightly below the average.
As far as verticals go, there’s a clear leader: travel. Some 38% of conversation about travel services references digital content, with technology (34%) next on the list. Conversations about beverages (14%) and food/dining (15%) are the least likely, by contrast, to reference digital content.
About the Data: The results are based on an analysis of Keller Fay Group’s TalkTrack, which surveyed a random sample of 100 consumers (aged 13-69) each day – over 36,000 annually – about the conversations they’ve had the prior day across 15 broad categories of products and services.