Quarterly report takes 5.8 million data points – real input from consumers directly to Bazaarvoice clients – and uncovers trends to help brands get and stay ahead in 2012

Bazaarvoice today released its second quarterly Conversation Index that illuminates who is talking, what they’re telling each other, and how it matters to brands and entire industries. This Conversation Index provides a window into real-world customers and offers strategies for turning new insights into business-building action.

The Conversation Index: 30-Second Take-Aways
This edition of the Conversation Index takes 5.8 million data points on what consumers need and want and distills these words, opinions and experiences into the trends that will help brands stay ahead in 2012. The complete Conversation Index is available here, and key findings include:

Mobile: Browsing is just the beginning
Consumers increasingly use their mobile devices throughout the entire purchasing process – far beyond just browsing. The Conversation Index indicates that mobile and iPad optimisation should be a top priority – including mobile transactions, and allowing consumers to engage directly with a brand by sharing feedback and even rating content assets.

• Transaction revenue coming from mobile devices tripled this year (around 2% in 2010 to around 6% in 2011), evidence that shoppers are using mobile for more than just browsing or bookmarking to buy later.
• The percentage of mobile visitors to Bazaarvoice client sites on Black Friday more than doubled to 12% in 2011, up from 5% in 2010.
• Holiday 2011 saw the iPad usage (40% of mobile visits) beat that of the iPhone (30%) and Android phones (25%).
• iPad users now account for more and more content submissions, not just views. In April through September, the iPad gained ground as the preferred mobile device for submitting feedback.

Financial Services: Social Data Is the New Currency
Not all consumers are created equal. By getting savvy about the wants and needs of different customers, marketers can speak the right language, engage the right way, and avoid sentiment flips as the customer lifecycle progresses.
• Long-term customers are less satisfied – but more vocal. New customers rate products 8% more positively, on average, than long-term financial customers (20+ years), but 77% of all long-term customers would recommend their financial firm to others (the second largest segment of promoters). Long-term customers create 32% of total product reviews (more than any other group) and write about 30% more content.
• Older consumers are not keeping quiet. 19% of review volume comes from those ages 66 or older (as compared to 25% from clients ages 25 to 34) proving that older folks are socially savvy.
• Newer customers want “easy” while long-term customers want “courteous.” Customers of less than 4 years use words like “easy,” “helpful,” “awesome,” “happy,” and “experience” in their reviews while more tenured customers (10+ years with the firm) use “courteous” and “convenient” in their reviews. Words that reverberate across all review content include “great” (highest, in about 18% of content), “friendly,” “quick” and “simple.”

Consumer Input: Table Stakes
When making purchase or service decisions, consumers turn to first-person opinions and insights from other consumers like them. Brands that succeed will garner consumer input and use these trusted insights to fuel decisions everywhere consumers buy: online, via social, on mobile devices, and in stores. Companies also need to avoid mistakes that can negatively impact word of mouth.
• On Black Friday 2011, consumers were served nearly 730 million impressions of user-generated content on Bazaarvoice client sites, a 39% increase over 2010 numbers.
• Cyber Monday served up nearly 789 million impressions of user-generated content, a 42% jump from Cyber Monday 2010.
• Almost half of customer reviews that mention problems with postage are one-star reviews – the worst rating available on the five-star scale. This rating is 80% lower than the average star rating for products overall.
Comments on the News
• “We are hardwired to share opinions, recommendations, and input with each other. Now social gives consumers a direct link to the brands they are talking about. There is a huge responsibility that comes with this always-on, direct and authentic input, and a tremendous opportunity for brands to take actions on what consumers really need and want. We look forward to continuing to be a guide in what is mostly unchartered territory. This is the first time in human history where word of mouth is a digital asset and a new understanding of age-old human practices will continue to rapidly form.” – Brett Hurt, Founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice.

• “Social data comes fast and furious, and the brands who can turn this data into doing will gain a big advantage in the year ahead. Brands need to make sure that they are prepared to capture, analyse and, most importantly, act on these insights to catapult beyond loyalty to real advocacy.”– Erin Mulligan Nelson, CMO of Bazaarvoice

Additional Resources
• Download the full report: The Conversation Index
• Follow @Bazaarvoice on Twitter or visit www.bazaarvoice.co.uk

About Bazaarvoice
Bazaarvoice’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions have powered more than 260 billion customer conversations on brand web sites like John Lewis, Blue Shield of California, Costco, Dell, Macy’s, P&G, Panasonic, QVC, and USAA. The company connects organisations to their influencers through a unique network that reaches hundreds of millions of consumers around the globe, enabling authentic customer-powered marketing. Through syndication, analytics, partnerships, and consulting, Bazaarvoice brings the voice of the customer to the centre of their clients’ business strategy, proving “social” can drive measured revenue growth and cost savings for manufacturing, retail, travel, and financial services companies. Headquartered in Austin, the company has offices in Amsterdam, London, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, and Sydney. For more information and access to client success stories, visit www.bazaarvoice.uk, read the blog at www.bazaarvoice.com/blog, and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bazaarvoice.

Published on: 3:02AM on 10th January 2012