Market Research Explains Why We Trust Strangers Online

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How to conduct statistically relevant market research with Tom Smith, CEO and founder of the Global Web Index, a market research company with technology at the heart.

Tom shares best practices for determining global social media penetration rates, what types of products and services are most talked about online, and why marketing professionals trust the opinions of total strangers more than the mainstream news media, experts, and pundits.

Social Media Research on Why We Trust Strangers

1:28 – How to use the online newsrooms to host and engage in online conversations. With the iPressroom you can quickly and reliably add and manage RSS feeds, blogs, streaming video, or a custom online pressroom to your organizational communications efforts.

3:56 – Tom Smith on his Power to the People Social Media Tracker, a global web usage tracking program he devised for Universal McCann, and how that led to the Strangers Report.

5:46 – Tom Smith on the methodology of the Strangers Report, which involved interviewing 17,000 people worldwide, on the differences between conducting online and offline research, and the statistical relevancy of his data.

6:50 – Tom Smith’s new online market research company Trend Stream, offers global research studies on web usage trends to PR firms and corporate clients.

8:09 – Tom Smith on the global trends revealed by the Strangers Report, including higher levels of adoption and content contribution in Asia and India, the explosive growth of online video and the widespread international growth of social media.

9:49 – Tom Smith on the global and regional levels of trust people have for online consumer opinions, whether they know the person responsible for posting those opinions, and the fallacy that social media is popular primarily among younger audiences.

10:45 – Tom Smith on how cultural traits impact social media trust levels and the correlation between adoption rates and trust levels region by region.

11:54 – Tom Smith ranks online passive consumption and creative content marketing channels by popularity.

12:38 – Tom Smith on how the average size of an individual’s personal online social network varies worldwide, which user groups by country have the most extensive and smallest networks, and the impact of Facebook on average network size in those markets where it has achieved penetration.

15:14 – Tom Smith contrasts social media marketing against mainstream marketing, likening the former to direct marketing, and lists the defining criteria by which successful social media marketing programs should abide.

16:36 – Tom Smith on digital friendships and how the internet has expanded the number of connections people have, albeit in a digital format, and how the opinions of digital friends impact corporate reputations.

18:36 – Tom Smith on the myriad of ways people are sharing opinions online and how self-publishing tools have lowered the barriers to entry for influencing opinions via the Net.

19:54 – Tom Smith on peer reviews as the most trusted source of information for consumers making purchasing decisions.

20:31 – Tom Smith defines the levels of trust people have for different sources of consumer opinion, ranking Amazon and other consumer rating sites against blogs and online media sites and describing how user-generated content hosted by branded online offerings is considered more trustworthy than content hosted by unbranded online sites.

22:00 – Tom Smith on the product and service categories that are most talked about online, the biggest surprises his research revealed about discussion levels by product and service category, and the excessive online chatter he found about products that are not ecommerce purchases.

25:25 – Tom Smith defines “super influencers” and their role in creating online social phenomena.

27:18 – Tom Smith on why marketers need to be very wary about how they approach social media channels and the importance of using transparency to govern their social media strategies.

29:32 – Tom Smith on selling social media marketing initiatives to organizations through research and the danger of not participating in online conversations about the categories in which you compete.

31:46 – End

Eric Schwartzman is the founder of online newsroom software as a service provider iPressroom, and creator of the Social Media PR Boot Camp, attended by thousands of public relations firm leaders and digital marketing agency executives from the private, public, government and nonprofit sectors. In addition to advising clients on best practices for online newsroom design, deployment, and management, Schwartzman & Associates offers training to accelerate digital literacy.

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