Consumers the world over are more likely to visit a CPG brand's web site than become a Facebook fan or Twitter follower of a CPG brand, regardless of the CPG category, according to study by Ipsos Marketing.
Despite this finding, however, CPG web sites still lag far behind Facebook in providing a forum for consumer feedback. While consumers said they consider CPG web sites to be the best places to go for information about brands and promotional offers, they find Facebook to be the best platform for voicing their opinions and connecting with other customers.
While many CPG companies have set up Facebook and Twitter pages for their brands, the study found that consumers are more likely to visit the brand's own web site. The propensity to visit a website (as opposed to a brand-specific Facebook or Twitter page) was found to be higher regardless of whether the category is food, beverages, household products, personal products, beauty, or over-the-counter medication.
When asked how likely they would be to visit web sites for each category, consumer interest ranged from 23% - 26% for a CPG web site; 10% - 15% for Facebook, and 9% - 12% for Twitter.
The study also found that consumers' reasons for visiting a CPG brand's web site are different from their reasons for engaging with a CPG brand via Facebook or Twitter. The main reasons for visiting a CPG web site all involved obtaining information (such as brand information, coupons, recipes, cleaning tips, or health and beauty advice, for example).
On the other hand, the main reasons for visiting a brand's profile on Facebook or Twitter included sharing opinions and experiences, and connecting with other customers. Compared to CPG web sites and Twitter, Facebook stood out as a platform for the voice of the consumer, with the highest percentage of consumers citing "opinion sharing" as the main reason for using Facebook.
According to Lauren Demar, CEO for Ipsos Marketing's Global Consumer Goods unit, "The data suggests that brand profiles on Facebook are good complements to CPG web sites. Marketers are appropriately exploring the use of Facebook as a new way to listen to their customers."
Web sites, it seems, are ideal for sharing information about the brand offer, while Facebook can be used to really listen to what consumers are saying about the brand experience, providing what many may perceive to be a less threatening forum for self-expression.
However, with regard to Twitter, the marketing benefit is perhaps less clear. But marketers can enrich the value of all social networking sites by improving the consumer experience and ensuring it is consistently engaging, useful in terms of content, and providing a two-way conversation.