Broad Jump study reveals consumer preferences online marketing

 TEXAS: Pop ads are out, email is in. BroadJump, a broadband software player, has revealed new findings about US consumer attitudes toward a variety of online marketing and promotions.

BroadJump conducted the research, which tested banners, email, instant messages and pop-up ads, to help broadband service providers better understand which promotional vehicles are most effective in moving subscribers from awareness through purchase and fulfillment of value-added services.

The results indicate that new service offerings should be highly targetted and the choice of promotional vehicles carefully considered. The financial opportunity of doing this successfully is large with one-third of broadband subscribers making more than 11 purchases per year, and almost half spending more than $500 online per year. Broadband subscribers are more sophisticated than traditional online buyers and therefore represent a powerful buying community for service providers.

It is critical for service providers to adapt promotions around the preferences to which these subscribers will most favourably respond. This is particularly important given the market necessity to move beyond basic high-speed access by offering and fulfilling value-added services such as utilities, gaming, streaming video, online music and entertainment.

While broadband subscribers have expressed interest in value-added services, the research revealed they are resistant to most of the promotional vehicles used to market such services. And yet, according to a survey conducted by Mindwave Research of more than 1,000 broadband subscribers, 79 per cent of the respondents had a positive, or very positive feeling toward their service provider. Service providers have an advantage over other Internet-based companies since successfully developed and well recognised brands are more trusted. There are a variety of online promotional vehicles available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses depending on delivery, situation and usage level.

BroadJump's research compared a variety of different vehicles and respondents' feedback indicated the following:

1. Email is the most preferred method for receiving promotions. This format offers subscribers the most control -- when (and if) to read, delete, ignore or respond to the content.

2. Pop-up ads are by far the most disliked and intrusive form of promotion. Few people have responded to or purchased anything directly resulting from a pop-up ad.

3. Banners are largely invisible to consumers and lost in the clutter.

4. Instant messages (IM) are perceived to be a personal communication tool, not a promotional vehicle. Therefore, users labeled it inappropriate for IM to be used for promotion.

Toast, messages that emanate from the system tray and disappear after a short period of time, is relatively unknown. As such, it is a novel and appealing way to communicate today because like email, users can decide when to review and when to ignore. Adapting programmes around online preferences is key since a trusted, regarded brand is fragile and misuse and intrusive targeting can damage it quickly. BroadJump facilitated these focus groups to provide data on specifically what will motivate, or deter, purchase decisions to help its service provider customers find a balance between establishing incremental revenues and maintaining brand.

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