Search, Brand Websites, Shopping and Browsing Portals Account for 60% of Effectiveness in Digital Investments


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NEW YORK, NY April 2, 2012 – Search, brand websites, shopping and browsing
portals make the greatest contributions to brand loyalty and ROI, according
to a new study, that for the first time, provides marketers a groundbreaking
view of digital platforms showing them where, precisely in their product /
service category, they will receive the best return on their digital
marketing investments. Brand Keys., the New York-based brand and customer
loyalty and engagement consultancy (, debuted its Digital
Platform GPS (DP/GPS) to the advertising industry last week at the 4A’s
Transformation conference, in Los Angeles.

“Everybody is trying desperately to understand where they should invest in
digital space,” noted Amy Shea, Brand Keys EVP for global brand development.
“OK, Facebook is a given. Now what? Brands know they have to participate in
digital. What they need to know is what to do that will be most
cost-effective and efficient.”

Across the 83 product and service categories examined, the
return-on-investment that digital platforms make to brand and advertising
engagement, sales, and loyalty were found to be:

Search: contributes 18%
Brand’s Own Website: contributes 16%
Shopping Portals: 14%
Browsing Portals: 13%
Email: 12%
Social Networks: 11%
Mobile Apps: 5%
Blogs: 3%
Online Video: 2%
Digital Magazines: 2%
Digital Newspapers: 2%
Classified: 1%
Music: ½%
Gaming: ½%

“As pervasive as digital media has become, surprisingly there was no
single-source that identified the various digital platforms with which
consumers engage,” said Shea, “and there was nothing that would help
advertisers understand what they were actually getting for their digital
investments either. Concerns about ROI haven’t stopped with traditional
above-the-line media.”

When the top 500 digital platforms were viewed by usage, “we were able to
sort them into 14 specific digital archetypes, which actually describes how
people are really behaving in the digital space. Not just where they visited
or the time they spent, but what actually drove category and brand
engagement,” said Shea. “After that the DP/GPS – category-by-category – was
able to identify the return-on-investments advertising on one digital
platform would bring to a brand, versus another with similar visitors.”

“When we look at brands marketing on these digital platforms today, it’s
reminiscent of TV in the ’50s,” said Shea. “Brands know a lot about who uses
the platforms so they know where to target, but that doesn’t tell them how
to effectively allocate budgets or where they might attain the highest
levels of attention, engagement, and loyalty. CMOs recognize there is no
one-size-fits-all approach to digital communication, but what’s really
fascinating when we look at specific findings by category and see how
digital communication platforms are so very category-dependent.”

From a budget allocation basis, that’s incredibly important to know. And
because the DP/GPS is a category examination as well, it identifies exactly
where digital intersects with the drivers of consumer behavior,” noted Shea.
“Armed with this knowledge, brands, for the first time, can cost-efficiently
communicate in digital space with an understanding of what strategy to use –
and where to say it best.”

“There are also amazing differences in digital dynamics when you also look
at digital involvement through a category lens,” said Shea. “Consumers with
top 20% digital category involvement see the world differently. What they
expect brands to deliver on those platforms is vastly different and knowing
that can impact where brands invest in digital space and ultimately branding
and messaging success.”

We’re calling those consumers in that top 20% of digital category
involvement ‘Higitals.’ But the way digital marketing and adoption is going,
when it comes to brand strategy, you might as well call them ‘the future,'”
added Shea.


The Brand Keys Digital Platform Engagement Index survey comprises 49,000
customer interviews, M/F, 18-65 years of age, drawn from the nine US Census
regions. Respondents self-classified for category and brand participation in
83 categories with 598 brands, and reported time spent weekly on any or all
of the set of 14 digital platforms. Results are generalizable at the 95%
confidence level using a methodology that has been independently validated.
The DPEI provides a unique perspective on digital usage, platforms,
category, and brand, and offers marketers the following:

1. Category-specific identification of ranges of Digital Involvement, i.e.,
time spent weekly on any/all of a set of digital platform archetypes (Social
media networking, blogs, mobile apps, etc.).

2. The ranking of each digital platform in each category, based on the
percent-contribution the platforms make to engagement and loyalty, offering
a hierarchy that can finally inform where to best allocate resources in the
digital space;

3. Exactly how those digital platforms connect with the emotional and
rational drivers of consumer decision making in each category, allowing
advertisers to customize content when using those digital platforms;

4. How consumers with high-digital involvement see each category versus the
general population to help steer brands into a digitally-pervasive future;

5. Identification of electronic devices providing the “best” interaction
with each of the digital platforms for each category.

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