There’s a lot to sink your teeth into in this week’s stats roundup.

It includes news about social ads, retail returns, brand CSR, and lots more – plus further info to be found in the Internet Statistics Compendium.

So, let’s not dilly-dally, shall we?

Social media advertising disappoints 27% of consumers

When it comes to ads on social media, it seems consumers are becoming all the more cynical.  

According to a new survey by Sprout, which polled over 1,000 US consumers on the topic, 27% of respondents said their opinion of social media advertising has declined in the past year. The biggest reason for this is too much clutter, with 58% citing that they simply see too many ads on social. 

So, how can marketers combat this? Sprout’s survey found that users crave entertainment over anything else, with 41% saying that this is the most engaging type of social ad, followed by 37% who say discounts, and 33% saying educational. 

Related reading:

Over half of millennials have stopped shopping with a brand due to poor returns

Research by ReBound has found that brands are struggling to offer an easy returns process – despite the fact that consumers are returning more goods than ever before.

From a survey of over 1,000 UK consumers, the study found that 42% of shoppers aged 28 to 35 are returning more than they did two years ago. However, 59% say that they have stopped shopping with a brand due to a difficult or unclear returns process.

Interestingly, one in 10 consumers say that this is because they received no communication on how to return a product, with a lack of information clearly impacting overall customer experience. Another reason is a lack of options – 62% say they would use a courier service if it was available to them.  

More on returns:

US influencer marketing budgets on the rise

Back in February, we highlighted a study that found influencer marketing could be damaging the public’s perception of brands, as confusion around sponsored posts continues.

However, new research from the US suggests that marketers remain positive about the industry. So much so, in fact, that 43% expect to increase their spending on it over the next 12 months. According to the Association of National Advertisers, which surveyed 158 client-side marketers, the majority of marketers are satisfied with their influencer strategies. 54% are very satisfied with performance, and 36% say they think the strategy is effective.

So, despite issues surrounding disclosure of campaigns, marketers appear optimistic about achieving campaign objectives. 86% of respondents cite brand awareness as the main reason for using influencer marketing, while 69% say content creation and distribution, and 51% say driving purchases.

More on influencer marketing:

Brands need a more specific CSR strategy

Instead of making general claims about corporate social responsibility (CSR), brands need to be more specific in how they communicate CSR-related messages. For example, stating exactly what they do to be sustainable rather than merely saying that they are.

This comes from a new study by the Journal of Advertising Research, which also suggests that brands that win awards for CSR generate a more positive reaction than those who promote their efforts on social media. In fact, it suggests that four out of the five most credible channels for communicating CSR are external, including awards, TV, newspaper coverage, and partnerships with non-governmental organisations.

With sustainability and other social and environmental issues becoming increasingly importance for consumers, it’s also vital that brands communicate efforts in the right way.

Related reading:

Always-on sales are damaging retail profits

New research by Klarna has revealed that retailers feel an increased pressure to promote discounts in order to keep up with the competition. However, this could in fact be damaging profits.

In a study of the views of 1000 UK consumers and 500 retail decision-makers, Klarna found that 53% of retailers believe the ‘always on’ nature of sales is having a negative impact on profits, with 11% saying that discounting cost them over £25,000 in 2017.

Meanwhile, 28% of consumers say that sales are too stressful, and as a result avoid them altogether. 25% also say they are less likely to shop regularly with a retailer who always has sales on, and 38% say that constant sales make a brand look cheap and unfashionable.

So, should retailers avoid sales? A more considered approach is certainly preferable, with a focus on features such as flexible payment options, one-click checkout, and personalisation likely to lure in consumers all-year round. 

Related reading:

Half of consumers want retailers to invest in AR

Consumers have always been more resistant to spend on big items online. However, research suggests this would lessen if retails offered ‘visualisation’ technology to allow shoppers to better envision products before buying.

In a survey of over 1,000 consumers, PushOn found that 45% of people would be more inclined to spend larger amounts online if this technology was available. More specifically, 40% of consumers said they would use AR to test a product before buying it. 

Meanwhile, the survey suggests that the problem extends to more than just what the products look like. 41% of consumers said they would like to see improved online security so they know their money is safe when making expensive purchases, while 32% would like to use AI chatbots to get instant answers to their questions. 

More on AR:

Black Friday extends to more than a two-day event

According to Econsultancy’s recent report on the topic, the majority of retailers now extend Black Friday for as long as possible – far more than the traditional two days. 35% of survey respondents said that Black Friday was a four-day weekend as a minimum. Meanwhile, 45% said that they extend the duration for a few more days on top of this.

One benefit of this extended period is that it eases pressure on retailers, and lessens the likelihood of websites crashing.

The biggest winner on Black Friday, Amazon, even extended its marketing of the event for a full 13 to 14 days last year, advertising online and on TV the Friday before the event and finishing after Cyber Monday.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 9 April, 2018 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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