The Psychology Of Online Sharing: ZMOT and The Ad Spend Fragmentation
Content Marketing

The Psychology Of Online Sharing: ZMOT and The Ad Spend Fragmentation

14th April 2014

In my last post, we discussed different sharing personas and the foundation of human motivations, so I would now like to take a look at the fragmented nature of social spending amongst top brands and analyze how they spend their digital budgets – highlighting the need to engage with your audience and community online. Apart from this we’ll also be looking into Google’s ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ (ZMOT) which is fundamentally all about getting closer to your customer.

The Fragmentation of Social Spending Amongst Top Brands

Let’s set the scene first: according to Technorati Media’s  2013 Digital Influence Report the digital landscape today has  changed compared to 2012. The survey’s interviewees consisted of 6000 influencers, 1200 consumers and 150 top brands – a pretty comprehensive sample.

60% of top brands suggested a 40% increase in social spend for 2013. Currently the majority of brands’ digital spend goes directly to search, display advertisement and video. Whilst only 10% of the total digital spend are devoted to social media and influencer outreach. To further break these 10% down – Facebook takes the biggest slice of the cake currently accounting for 57% of social spend closely followed by YouTube and Twitter each accounting for 13%. The graph below gives a clear outline of the top brands social spending fragmentation.



Influencers & Blogs Have Greater Impact Than Social Media

You probably think so far so good, but there’s been a pretty steep shift in consumer trust, popularity and influence meaning that even though influencers and blogs are only allocated the minimum digital spend they now have a greater impact on consumer decision making than social media!

influencing a purchase

Regarding the consumer’s purchase decision making process, blogs now trail closely behind brand and retail sites and also belong to the top 5 most trusted online sources. According to consumers blogs have a greater impact on forming opinions than Twitter. This means the landscape has changed and that blogs have a higher impact than social media on your consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Understanding the Future of The Information Age

It’s important to understand that we now live in the information age. It is estimated that every 2 days we create as much information as we did since the dawn of time till 2003! The reason for this is that we now share more content, from more sources, with more people, more often and more frequently.

Setting The Scene – Zero Moment Of Truth

The rapid growth and evolution of the social web has resulted in an enormous shift in consumer purchase behavior the reason being that the web is now powered by social media aspects of all types where anyone can be an author and publish content.

Google and Shopper Sciences teamed up and conducted research to learn what influences enable shoppers to move from ‘undecided’ to ‘decided’ during their purchase decision making process. According to the research, the average shopper now uses 10.4 information sources before buying a product. This is known as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)- and it occurs when consumers get smart about buying alternatives, read reviews and look for coupons before buying a product.

But that’s not all, according to Experian Hitwise 90% of UK web journeys start with a search on Google. This also poses a significant shift for the digital industry as online audiences can no longer be characterized by just demographics but by their search history which is made up of personal motivation and interests. As a result marketers have to engage with their audiences directly.

The social nature of the internet enables brands to have a transparent dialogue with customers to further encourage communication and sharing. Brands have to ensure they create sharable content. However, this content should be created with the understanding that the relationships that people value most are with one another and not with brands! Following on from this, consumers must find content trustworthy before they will share it.

Next month we’ll be looking into what brands need to do to encourage social sharing to truly resonate with their audiences as well as the dangers of over sharing and how to overcome them.


Written By
Clarissa is a bilingual Strategic Marketing MA graduate with rounded experience in a number of key marketing disciplines including social media, project management, research and business development. Clarissa is Marketing Graduate at Linkdex.
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