The Data Digest: The Information Power Play

Anjali Lai

Recent incidents remind us that knowledge is power. Earlier this week, US President Trump shared classified information with foreign delegates — and by doing so, he potentially declassified it. When The Washington Post exposed the headline first, the article became the most viewed digital news story in the publication’s history. This comes only a few days after a sweep of global cyberattacks locked major corporations and governments out of their data and threatened to release stolen content (like a soon-to-be-released Disney film) in increments. These stories remind us that those who own and control information wield power — but also that the boundary between public and private information is becoming easier to transgress.  

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The Data Digest: Youth’s Scattered Social Mobile Behaviors

Reineke Reitsma

Recently, I was on a road trip in Morocco with my family, including three teenagers. While my interest in their phone usage at home mostly concentrates on the amount of time they spend on their devices, during the trip I got firsthand insight into how they use their phones. All three of them used it as a lifeline to their friends at home in the Netherlands, but it was amazing to see how each of them does that in a totally different way. My 16-year-old son was primarily “apping” (texting using Whatsapp) with his friends and sending the occasional picture; my 14-year-old daughter was trying to keep her Snapchat “streaks” alive while dealing with bad Wi-Fi signals and long road trips; while my 12-year-old daughter was vlogging all day about everything she encountered and uploading the videos when we had a signal. Part of these differences in behavior can be explained by their characters, but it’s mostly the result of the two-year age gaps between them. Even though they are all in their teens, they grew up with different digital platforms and capabilities.

The Forrester Data Consumer Technographics North American Youth Survey, 2017 (US), also shows this. More than half of US youth use YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook daily. But when we dive a level deeper, we see that the 14 and 15 year olds are more likely to post online than their 16- and 17-year-old peers.

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The Data Digest: Chatbots Can’t Fully Replace Humans Just Yet

Kristopher Arcand
Customer service departments in all industries are increasing their use of chatbots, and we will see usage rise even higher in the next year as companies continue to pilot or launch their own versions of the rule-based digital assistant. What are chatbots? Forrester defines them as autonomous applications that help users complete tasks through conversation.
 
While Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that 60% of US online adults already use online messaging, voice, or video chat services, there are challenges to widespread adoption. We reached out to our ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community members to better understand consumer impressions of chatbots and found that our respondents had a difficult time identifying clear benefits to interacting with them. Many prefer to communicate with a representative who can show real empathy, address more complex needs, and offer them assurance.
 
Earlier this month, I attended the Qual360 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., where chatbots were a hot topic in both qualitative research and customer experience. Speakers highlighted the opportunity of chatbots while warning about their shortcomings. For example:
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The Data Digest: Are Australian Companies Living Up To Their Clients’ Online Expectations?

Reineke Reitsma

Australians are often seen as laid-back, taking things as they come. However, this doesn’t translate to their need for great customer experience. When we analyzed the Australian results of Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™), we found that the vast majority of companies in Australia are still providing only mediocre CX.

In his report “The Australia Customer Experience Index, 2016,” my colleague Tom Champion shows how companies in more CX-mature markets in North America and Europe have turned their attention toward making positive emotional connections with their customers to drive loyalty. However, the focus in Australia is still very much on measurement.

So, what’s going on in Australia? How can companies live up to the changing expectations of their customers?

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The Data Digest: The Values-Based Consumer

Anjali Lai

If Thursday morning’s controversial tweet from McDonald’s is any indication, brands are no longer safe. I’m not just talking about the threat of a data breach or hack — I’m talking about the threat of consumers who force brands to expose their ethics and beliefs or remain at the mercy of consumer perception and interpretation in a polarized environment. As we’ve seen with other examples of ubiquitous and once universally loved brands like Kellogg’s and L.L. Bean, consumers increasingly judge companies on the basis of their values — and while customers are skeptical of firms that stay silent, they open their wallets for those that champion appealing causes.

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that this is hardly a passing cloud; customers are becoming more aware of — and sensitive to — social issues overall. For instance, more consumers regularly follow politics, read about science, and identify as being environmentally conscious today than in 2014: 

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The Data Digest: Cinema's Lesson To Marketers

Anjali Lai

I love watching the annual Academy Awards — not only for the fashion show and blunders exposed on live TV but also to learn about how content resonates with audiences today and how cinema is evolving. In a world where people frequently face information overload and crave smaller bites (and bytes) of content, I’ve often wondered, what is the fate of the full-length film?

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals a curious story: Rather than reaching any type of saturation point, US consumers’ media appetite is growing rapidly: 93% of online adults frequently watch video today, more than 10 percentage points higher than two years ago. And their often-criticized waning attention span is not deterring consumers from sitting through full-length films; in fact, movie viewership is on the rise. However, our data shows that the viewing experience is changing: Movie watching is getting more personal as consumers increasingly turn to their home devices instead of going to the movie theater. 

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The Data Digest: Online Video Ad Spending Is Set To Make A Splash In 2017

Brandon Verblow

Up until now, paid services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO have dominated US online video viewing, particularly for long-form, TV-style content. Uptake of ad-supported, TV-style online video has been slower; traditional TV providers control much of this content, and they’ve been cautious about making their programming available outside the lucrative TV bundle. Even if many viewers want to cut the cord, they may not follow through as they realize they cannot get all the content they want. YouTube, of course, has a massive ad-supported online video business that has been growing healthily according to our calculations. However, even YouTube falls short of Netflix in terms of downstream bandwidth consumption, and its estimated ad revenue is only a small fraction of traditional TV ad revenue. For online video ad spend to show meaningful growth, consumer-generated or web-only content won’t be enough. A truly robust online video ad market will require the migration of traditional TV content to digital platforms.

This migration appears to be gathering momentum. Recently, we have seen a number of developments that could drive the uptake of ad-supported online video and that indicate that 2017 could be the year when ad-supported online video starts to make a splash.

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The Data Digest: The Year Of Empathy

Anjali Lai

Happy 2017! Settling in to the New Year often renews hope and excitement for the future, and rekindles anticipation for the brands, products, and experiences on the horizon. This year, it’s hard to think about imminent innovations without considering a modern imperative that is rapidly moving to the forefront of conversation: customer empathy.

We are barely three weeks into 2017 and already the cry for customer empathy – and brands’ responses to it – are popping up frequently. At the Consumer Electronics Show, the “insanely cute” Kuri personal robot stole consumers’ hearts, and took the notion of “tech love” to a whole other level. The progression of Artificial Intelligence is sparking public debate about the role of compassion in human connection. And people find themselves seeking meaning, purpose, and understanding over happiness.

The need for empathy affects how customers evaluate brands too: Consumers increasingly prefer companies that resonate with shoppers’ personal values. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® social listening data shows that consumer buzz about company values is on the rise:

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The Data Digest: A Year Of Goodbyes (And Hellos)

Reineke Reitsma

As a music lover, this has been a year of goodbyes for me, with many of my teenage heroes like David Bowie, Prince, and earlier this week, George Michael, passing away. It makes you realize how fast time moves on, and nothing lasts forever. As I’ve shared before, I love this time of year: Thinking about what has been, and having a world of opportunities in front of us. And I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.

This year, there were a number of surprises and new developments that nobody predicted. And 2016 was the year of Pokémon. As my colleague Anjali Lai shared in an earlier blog post about this phenomenon: “The Pokémon Go phenomenon is not only about adopting technology or using new, cutting-edge features; it is also about designing a sticky experience that is enabled by the ways customers are changing.”

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The Data Digest: It's The Most Emotional Time Of The Year

Anjali Lai

The holidays have a way of bringing people together in more ways than one – and every holiday season I’m reminded of just how universal the power of human emotion is. Regardless of lifestyle, background, and world view, people everywhere are truly emotional beings, moved by fundamental feelings of joy and sadness, hope and fear, love and loss. And anyone who has observed frantic shoppers careening through store aisles or the unbearable anticipation of children on Christmas morning can see that, at this time of year, emotions are at their peak.

Advertisers know holiday shopper emotions better than anyone; they have perfected the art of tugging at heart strings or prompting tears to spur a purchase. But as consumers wear their hearts on their sleeve, retailers broadly must be in tune with – and responsive to – customer sentiments. For example, when passionate shoppers turn to social channels, retailers mustn’t dismiss their cheering or venting. In fact, Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) data shows that consumers often experience their most positive brand interactions on social media – and remember them more favorably than engagements on websites, over email, through phone conversations, and even in person:

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