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How Has Digital Marketing Changed Consumer Behaviour

How Has Consumer Attention Changed?

The digitisation of the modern era has transformed consumer behavior and attention. This has not been a simple one-step shift from traditional to digital, however. The digital market is shifting frequently, influencing and responding to consumer behaviour. In some sense, the digital market has become so integral to consumer behaviour it is difficult to determine which causes which. Consumer attention has transformed. Where consumers are looking, and how digital marketers are catching their gaze has been revolutionized. Mobile friendly strategies, for example, are a crucial asset for all business models. 84% of the UK adult population own smart mobile devices. Audeo questions; how has digital marketing changed consumer behaviour?

Social Influence

#trending. Social influence is integral to the success of digital marketing. The sheer accessibility of the internet means that everyone knows everything about everyone else. The result is the creation of mass trends. This is often within the retail industry, with customers buying consumer goods just because “everyone else is.”

Now, this is not a new trend, social influence on consumer spending has been around since the rise of mass consumerism in the 1950s. Yet, the accessibility and visibility of purchasing, due to the internet, and particularly social media, has led to a dramatic rise in trend buying. The other side to this form of trend buying is the speed in the rise and decline of trends. The flood of options within each sector means that trends come in brief waves, rising and falling much quicker than when traditional marketing dominated. The accessibility of digital marketing for all kinds of businesses means that the competition market is changing constantly, and the shifting trends reflects this. 

Social media platforms, in particular, demonstrate this culture. Social influence holds more prevalence in society’s youth population. With social media being used most frequently by this same customer base, the culture of trend setting has a strong hold on young consumer experience. 

“I Want It Now” Culture

Digital marketing has also seen a rise in impatient consumers. Instant gratification has become an integral consideration in purchase decisions. When there is limitless and speedy access to information in the digital world, it is unsurprising that this has rubbed off on consumers. Not only do customers want it now, but they want it without fuss. Convenience trumps all. Amazon’s One-Click check out option demonstrates a perfect example of this kind of trend. 

Yet, the ‘it’ is not always in the form of a consumer good. Digital Marketing has also caused an impatience in the customer service sector. Consumers expect issues to be resolved quickly and efficiently. A recent study by Zendesk found that 65% of consumers expect faster customer service than five years ago. Innovations in digital marketing have caused these expectations. The introduction of AI chatbots has meant that consumers can have their needs catered to 24/7, with minimal wait time. This reinforces the “I want it now” culture.

Research, Experimentation, and Criticism

Alongside the aforementioned social influence through social media trends, there has also been a rise in consumer research, experimentation, and criticism. Digital Marketing ensures that each consumer is exposed to a magnitude of content. Targeted ads allow consumers to see multiple businesses offering the same product or service.

When combined with the “I want it now culture;” next day delivery, click and collect, and speedy customer service, the customer journey is sped up dramatically. Depending on the consumer, they will try and test multiple products, or read online reviews to develop an understanding of products and services through word of mouth. Digital Marketing has created a purchasing arena where consumers are constantly researching, trying, and criticising products and services.  

When exploring the question ‘how has digital marketing changed consumer behaviour,’ every consumer decision is linked back to a simple point. We, as consumers, have access to more information than ever before, and more frequently too. With growing smartphone ownership, and technology being present in almost all households, we have created a society that is constantly reachable by digital marketing strategies and campaigns. This is beneficial for businesses, however, this does not reduce the purchasing power that consumers have. 

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