Discovery is the first phase of the customer journey. It’s the moment consumers first come into contact with a new brand, its products and services.

If they like what they see, they’ll explore further. If they don’t, they won’t. This is why understanding that first step and the many ways in which consumers get there is key in today’s micro-moments era.

Our latest Brand Discovery report examines the many ways consumers discover new brands, uncovering the most effective ways for marketers to engage their target audiences. Here, we outline five of our most telling insights.

1. Broadcast TV is still the most effective form of advertising.

Despite the ubiquity of digital, broadcast TV remains the most effective advertising channel – particularly for the 55-64 age group which is twice as likely to be influenced by TV ads than 16-24 year-olds. This is in part because they spend over an hour longer watching linear TV each day.

Brands looking to reach this audience should continue to invest in TV advertising, using data to understand when their target consumers tune in, to which channels, and what for, giving insight into their viewing habits and mindset.

“Despite the ubiquity of digital, broadcast TV remains the most effective advertising channel.”

IKEA is one brand that expertly tapped into this insight. The furniture brand last year ran a series of TV adverts including the Wonderful Life campaign by Mother London. The ad, aimed at over 55s, depicts one couple’s memories together, imploring viewers to “Enjoy the little things in life. Maybe, they are really the big things.”

The ad contributed to sales growing 6% year on year, while ROI improved and brand awareness and consideration increased.

2. The younger the consumer, the more receptive they are to advertising.

More than 40% of internet users tend to buy from the brands they see advertised, with nearly 50% of 16-24s saying they are receptive to ads.

Among this younger age group, in-app advertising has particular impact, with 16-24s over twice as likely as 55-64s to discover brands via advertising within apps.

Gatorade is one brand that took this trend on board. The energy drink brand ran a sponsored lens campaign on Snapchat during this year’s Super Bowl, allowing users to virtually ‘dunk’ themselves in Gatorade to celebrate the Super Bowl victory. It garnered 160 million impressions, while purchase intent increased by 8pts.

The key here is to create ad campaigns that are highly relevant for both the user and the platform, presenting it in an interactive rather than invasive way.

3. Less (and more relevant) advertising is the key to combatting the ad-blocker.

One in three internet users are now blocking ads on their mobiles or desktop, with 55% believing ads are intrusive, annoying or take up too much screen space.

Despite this, over 40% of ad-blockers have still discovered brands via online ads, thanks to multi-device usage, whitelisting and selective usage of blocking browsers.

For marketers, the answer to combatting the rise of the ad-blocker lies in personalization.

Knowing how to reach the right person, at the right time, with the right message is essential in today’s media-saturated world. Personalization is the ideal, with 14% of consumers saying that personalized purchase recommendations on a website are a key way to discover new brands.

Being as relevant as possible and tailoring your marketing to the individuals you’re speaking to relies on access to robust data that provides deep insight into your audience and their behaviors.

If you present consumers with content that truly offers something of value that speaks directly to their needs and tastes, they will come. If it’s generic, irrelevant or simply ill-timed, it could prove damaging.

4. Reviews Matter: Over one third say they encourage them to buy.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

So says Scott Cook, co-founder of financial software giant, Intuit, and director of eBay and Procter & Gamble.

With approximately half of internet users globally posting reviews online every month, and over a third saying that such reviews affect their purchasing decisions, there is little doubt that this should be an important area of consideration for marketers.

For brands targeting 25-34 year-olds, it’s particularly pertinent. This group are prolific reviewers, with 46% posting a review of a product or service in the last month. This number decreases in line with age to hit a low of 31% among 55-64s.

That said, reviews still pack a punch with any audience. Lingerie brand, Figleaves, which targets women over 30, implemented Bazaarvoice’s Ratings and Reviews solution on their website, enabling consumers to share their feedback on the company’s products. Figures showed that products with over 20 reviews had a 83.85% higher conversion rate than products without reviews.

Encouraging customers to post reviews of your products and services can build a powerful buzz, strengthening your brand reputation online, fostering loyalty and helping you attract new customers.

5. Influencer marketing is key for attracting younger audiences.

With 30% of internet users around the world following actors on social media, and nearly as many following singers, musicians or bands, influencer marketing presents a sizeable opportunity for brands.

Vlogging is a particularly burgeoning area, with half of 16-24s watching vlogs each month, and about a fifth following vloggers on social platforms.

“More than half of 16-24s have watched a vlog in the last month.”

Brands able to engage the people who wield the most influence among their target audience can achieve powerful exposure with consumers, bestowing their product or service with the same perceived levels of cool, brilliance or beauty.

On its ‘All Things Hair’ YouTube channel, Unilever enlisted well-known vlogger, Zoella to create videos promoting its beauty brands, which include Dove and VO5. Both Dove and VO5 users are around 40% more likely than average to discover new products via vloggers.

While influencer marketing as a means of brand discovery is still relatively nascent, it holds weight with the younger audiences (16-24 year-olds are more likely to discover brands via vlogs, blogger posts and celebrity endorsements) and the channel is therefore likely to grow.

For brands to get influencer marketing right, they need a granular understanding of their audiences – translating their interests, attitudes and preferred channels – helping to make their approach as authentic as possible.

As Priyanka Dayal, Content Marketing Manager at Centaur Media PLC says, “For influencer marketing to sustain, authenticity and credibility is key.”

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