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New media users follow an average of only 5 companies online: New Cone research

New media adoption is soaring, thanks to older Americans and minorities increasingly moving online, but the competition among companies looking for loyal followers just got tougher. According to our latest research, the 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study, new media users still choose to demonstrate affinity (e.g., “like” on Facebook, “follow” on Twitter or subscribe to an RSS feed) toward an average of only 4.6 companies online.


Consumers are more open than ever to engaging with companies via new media (86 percent vs. 78 percent in 2009), but it still takes a big effort on the part of the company to reach the upper echelons of the consideration set. To stand out, companies need to incentivize new followers. Before deciding whether to engage with companies online, 77 percent of new media users look for free products, coupons or discounts.


It may be difficult for companies to get to the top, but it’s even harder to stay there. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of new media users say they are satisfied with their online experiences with companies, but that doesn’t mean they won’t hesitate to punish companies by disengaging. More than half of users will stop following a company if it acts irresponsibly toward its consumers (58%), over-communicates with them (58%) or provides irrelevant content (53%). Under-communicating (36%) or censoring user-generated content (28%) is also grounds for falling out of favor.


Companies that can deliver high-quality customer experiences are richly rewarded. Users who engage with companies via new media are more likely to:

  • Share information about the company across their own social networks – 62%
  • Feel a stronger connection to the company – 61%
  • Feel better served by the company – 60%
  • Purchase the company’s products or services – 59%

Is your company doing what it takes to stay on top?

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