Friday, November 17, 2006

The Online PR opportunity

A study, commissioned by Bluestreak, reveals consumer behaviour and attitudes towards emerging technologies including podcasts, text messages (SMS), RSS, blogs and message boards as well as the more traditional email platform.

The rate of adoption for new communication technologies represents a huge opportunity for Public Relations. The findings of the survey help us find out why.

People use a range of channles: 100 percent of respondents currently use email compared to 88 percent using text messaging; 71 percent using message boards; 63 percent using blogs; 36 percent using podcasting and 28 percent using RSS.

There is acceptance of adjunct messages and even advertising as the trade-off for good content and a further willingness to accept ads and "sponsored" content as long as the information is relevant and high-quality. As always, over-communicating can have an adverse effect both on the marketer's brand and their bottom line.

The proliferation of sponsored channels seems to have an impact on consumers’ usage (30 percent would stop reading a blog they know it is sponsored, 34 percent would stop reading a sponsored message board). Text messaging advertising is cited as the most unpopular form of advertising communication among these five emerging channels (77 percent of respondents say there is too much text advertising and 80 percent feel negatively towards text message advertisers).

A majority of respondants expressed a feeling thta ads are either “random” “get in the way” or “are not directed to me”

Although consumers accept the existence of advertising, most do not respond unless they feel the offer is "personalized" or "useful"

Although podcasting is included in this criticism, it also had the highest score among its peer set on relevance/personalization with 25 percent feeling the ads accomplished that goal.

Consumers are mainly concerned about viruses, identity theft and spyware as byproducts of using such channels (64, 56 and 53 percent respectively). Spam concerns were listed below these at 44 percent.

Respondents consider “emails they once signed up for but no longer want” as spam.

Building communities would still seem to offer the best opportunity.