Online Consumer Behavior Trends in 2014
Consumers Know How to Opt Out
Tech-savvy consumers not only know how to opt out and unsubscribe from marketing email lists, they're also more adept at filtering messages and tuning out unwanted media "noise." According to Superprofile, a consumer will be subjected to nearly 3,000 media messages on an average day. They'll pay attention to 52 of those and remember just four.
The lesson here is that any messages you send should be relevant, targeted and engaging. This applies to all channels, but is particularly important for email. Five years after The Wall Street Journal published an article declaring that email was on its way out as the king of digital communication, email marketing is still one of the most effective ways of reaching consumers. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing provided a return on investment of $40.56 for every $1 spent, eclipsing other channels such as search engine marketing ($22.44) and online display advertising ($19.72).
To use email marketing effectively, however, messages should be permission-based, meaning the opt-in for your email lists should be clear and transparent. "Stealth" opt-ins such as pre-checked boxes that have to be cleared if the customer doesn't want to receive communications can see you immediately consigned to the spam folder. You should also use metrics that take both consumer demographics and behaviors into account to provide personalized and relevant messages. There's a constant daily battle going on for the average customer's attention, and generic, poorly targeted messages are increasingly likely to be ignored.
Consumers Have Higher Expectations
One of the results of this increase in customer awareness and the instant ability to compare and contrast products and services while filtering out unwanted marketing messages is the emergence of what's been called "the expectation economy." Crowd-sourced reviews, specialist consumer websites, online word-of-mouth and consumers own experiences actually consuming products have all combined to create a critical and demanding shopper.