Touchscreens Turn You Into a More Impulsive Shopper

Psychology has plenty of advice for how to be a better shopper: Don’t rely on retail therapy to lift your mood. Think of spending like a diet, and plan when you’re going to cheat. Buy experiences over stuff — but only sometimes, because stuff can make you happy, too.

Here’s one more nugget of wisdom to add to the list: Not all methods of online shopping are created equal. According to a new study in the September issue of the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, the device we use may affect our ability to prioritize needs over more frivolous wants — and if you want to avoid overspending or shopping regret, it may be wise to limit your virtual browsing to your computer and stay away from the apps.

In the study, researchers from the University of British Columbia surveyed 99 people and found that they behaved more “rationally” when shopping at a desktop computer compared to a touchscreen device (in this case, an iPod Touch). In one experiment, for instance, participants using the touchscreen indicated that they were more likely to make a “hedonic” purchase, like a restaurant gift card, than they were to buy a more useful item like a grocery store gift card; for desktop users, the opposite was true. In another experiment, the study subjects took a test to measure their thinking style on a scale from experiential (a more freewheeling, impulsive thought process) to rational (careful, analytical). In general, those using the touchscreen were higher on the former way of thinking, and those on the desktop on the latter.
Part of the discrepancy, the researchers note, likely stems from the fact that touchscreens are just more fun to use: “When a consumer uses a touchscreen device, the novelty and fun generated by finger movements create experiential and affective feelings, in alignment with the playfulness and emotional nature of hedonic products,” they wrote.

“When participants are on their touchscreen device they lean towards a way of thinking where pleasurable products — things we don’t usually need — seem more interesting, and so they are more likely to make the purchase,” explains lead study author Ying Zhu, a marketing professor at UBC. “Whereas on a desktop they think in a more rational way — it might be because they associate their desktop device with logic and work.”

This isn’t the first study to support the idea that touch can influence consumer behaviour. Rather, it “adds to years of research that shows us that when people physically touch a product in a store, they are much more likely to purchase that product,” says Natasha Sharma, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Toronto. “This is because touch releases emotion, and gives us a sense of connection to an item.”

Sharma also suggests that for those of us who tend to be more impulsive shoppers already, choosing to make all purchases in person may be the best option of all.

“In a store, we have to make an effort to find items, carry them to a checkout counter, pull out our wallet, and pay, and all of those steps give our brain time to be less emotionally driven and impulsive,” she says. “With the element of touch playing a role now, I would recommend that people more at risk may want to remove shopping apps, for instance, or just stick with cash and debit purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.”

Source:; 25 Aug 2017

68% of APAC residents believe there is a problem with fake news on digital platforms

“Fake news” is one of the buzz phrases of 2017. First coined during the US presidential election last year, the term has taken on a life of its own and is now part of common parlance for many broadcasters, commentators and consumers alike.

New research by YouGov, reveals that the majority of APAC residents do believe that “fake news” is a problem. However, it also shows that what the problem is exactly is far harder to define.

TV is the most trusted source of news content

The study found that consumers view TV as the most trusted source for news, with three quarters of those polled (75%) placing either a little or a lot of trust in TV. This is followed by radio (trusted by 70%) and newspapers (68%), while digital is the least trusted source for news (60%).

Yet consumers also accept that these sources can be responsible for spreading “fake news”. Despite reporting high levels of trust in TV, nearly half (47%) of respondents believe there is a problem with fake news on TV. A similar number report concerns over “fake news” in newspaper content (49%) and radio (41%). However, concern about “fake news” surges to more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents when it comes to digital content.

Just one in eight people place “a lot” of trust in news that friends and family share online

Social media is a key site for news content, with more than a third of APAC residents (37%) sharing online news content on social media at least once a day. This is even higher in Thailand (54%), Vietnam (50%), Indonesia (44%) and the Philippines (40%).

While the majority of respondents (58%) say they trust news that friends and family share on social media, just 13% of those polled place “a lot” of trust in news that friends and family share online. Australians are the least trusting, with 7% of people not placing any trust in content that their friends and family share. This is more than double the regional average of 3%.

Over half of APAC respondent think more negatively of a brand that was found to be advertising on a platform that contains fake news

Consumers are cautious over the content they see online and more than half (56%) have conducted independent research to check the validity of a news story. Yet despite recognising the problem of “fake news”, consumers can be unaccepting when brands become tied up with the issue; a majority of respondents (54%) would think more negatively of a brand that was found to be advertising on a platform that contains fake news. Furthermore, two thirds of APAC residents (66%) would trust a brand less if it was found to be advertising on a platform that contains fake news.

54% of respondents would no longer make purchases from a brand found to be promoting fake or misleading content

The survey also shows how brand scandals are able to influence consumer behaviour, as well as opinion. For instance, if consumers were to find out that a brand had been promoting fake or misleading content, a majority of consumers would no longer make purchases from this brand (54%), choose a different brand in future (51%) or tell family and/or friends about it (51%). Furthermore, three in ten consumers (29%) would share this information on social media and a quarter of consumers (26%) would delete the brand’s app from their phone.


Source:; 21 Aug 2017

Millennials Crave Consistency, Connection With Brands

To be favoured among Millennials, brands should lean less on blanket traditional advertising and more on how they can relate to their daily lives.

After reviewing more than 15,000 responses from Millennials over the past five years (2013-17), St. Louis branding agency Moosylvania found brands that continually win Millennial favour do something for the Millennials’ personal brands.

While the top 10 brands (which includes Apple, Nike, Samsung, Amazon and Coke) are blue-chip, well-advertised brands, some further down the list, like shoe brand Vans (No. 34), outrank heavy advertisers like Budweiser (No. 94), which may have less daily relevance to the demographic.

“Pretty much everything here is: ‘Make me look good. Make me feel good, or keep me entertained,’ ” says Norty Cohen, CEO of Moosylvania. “All these [top] brands are doing something for Millennials’ own personal marketing. When you look at these brands, they’re helping them market themselves.”

Using five years of data, the study also found brands that consistently engaged Millennial consumers continued to rank high over time, he says.

“There were some brands that came and went,” Cohen says. “They did one thing and then [went away]. It’s the idea of consistency driving the connection — staying with it every day.”

Along those lines, the study also found peer influence and conversation was a more effective way to drive trial among Millennials than traditional advertising.

According to the research, peers talking about a brand produced a significantly greater chance of new brand adoption than TV, Facebook and YouTube advertising combined, Cohen adds.

Noting that Millennial consumers are now aging into different life stages, the study separated the demographic into two age groups: 17-27s and 28-37s. In doing so, Moosylvania found older Millennials showed more loyalty and digital connectivity to brands than their younger cohorts.

Source:; 17 August 2017

Micro-Moments Now: Three New Consumer Behaviors Playing Out in Google Search Data

Two years ago, Google introduced the concept of micro-moments. We put a name to a behaviour that, thanks to mobile, was becoming pervasive. People had started to expect an immediate answer in the moments they wanted to know, go, do, and buy. The concept of micro-moments was perhaps as truthful, observable, and relatable a consumer behaviour trend as any marketer could wish for.

Illuminating this behaviour and the associated consumer expectations proved to be really useful for marketers. In many ways, the micro-moments conversation has provided a reset and a roadmap for companies who sought a simple mental model for how to approach the otherwise daunting force that is mobile. It helped marketers think about which moments mattered most, and it created urgency. It also inspired an evaluation of a range of legacy habits and approaches—from how to think about share of voice and how to measure business results, to how to deliver useful experiences.

Now, midway through 2017, it’s clear that the centrality of micro-moments—for consumers and marketers alike—is as important as ever. It’s an entrenched behaviour—micro-moments are only multiplying. People can’t remember what it was like to not be able to learn, do, or buy things when the need struck by reaching for the device in their pocket.

New consumer behaviours up the ante

Micro-moments have been accelerating consumer expectations for “right here, right now” experiences. People take for granted that information is at their fingertips and tailored to their specific needs. But the thing about human beings is they never stop wanting that little bit extra. It’s becoming evident that they’ll keep raising the bar, wanting more useful information, more personalization, more immediacy. My team wanted to dig into these evolving expectations and understand how consumer behaviour has changed since we first introduced micro-moments. Here’s a glimpse of the consumer taking shape behind the data.

The “well-advised” consumer

Think about the last time you used your phone to find an answer or guide a decision. For some of you, this might have been about something big—like that safe family car you’re hoping to buy, or the Yosemite adventure you’re planning. But for others, it might have been, well, more mundane—like knobs for kitchen cabinets, best home remedies for wasp stings, or the least stinky sock for hiking.

People today want to be empowered to make the right decision, big or small—and they’re turning to their phones for advice to guide them. We can see this in the data. Mobile searches for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years. And again, it’s not just for high-consideration items or weighty topics. Because they can, people are turning to their phones for information on just about everything. For example, toothbrush searches have grown more than 80% on mobile and searches for “best toothbrush” have grown more than 100% on mobile in the past two years.  Before mobile, doing the research might have been more effort than people cared to expend. Now it’s easy and fast, so we can be confident in any decision we’re making, big or small.

The “right here” consumer

People also expect digital experiences to be made just for them—including experiences that are tailored to the location they’re in right now. Several years ago, marketers were able to deliver this type of relevance by taking explicit cues people gave them. For example, if someone wanted to find a sushi restaurant nearby, their search query would likely include the zip code, area name, or even “near me.” Today, people expect brands to gather enough contextual information to deliver location-specific responses without someone having to search for anything more than just “sushi.”

These expectations transfer to site and app experiences, too. Compared to just a year ago, smartphone users are significantly more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location.  Today, people just assume their smartphone will know where they are and will deliver information accordingly.

The “right now” consumer

Ever needed a restaurant reservation at the last minute? What about a hotel room? Or a pharmacy? People turn to mobile more than any other source to help them get things done, make decisions, or purchase. And every day, people are becoming more reliant on their smartphones to help make last-minute purchases or spur-of-the-moment decisions. In fact, smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago.

Mobile empowers people to be nimble. They can organize themselves as much (or as little) as they like because they know their smartphone is there for them. And, they expect brands to respond by understanding their needs and addressing them right now.

Looking ahead

These consumer shifts are an inevitability we can plan for. Expectations will only continue to rise. People will want to be more informed, have more personal experiences, and get things done even faster. And as these expectations ratchet up, so do the requirements (and opportunities) for marketers.

Source:; July 2017

Millennials want to buy from companies led by outspoken CEO

Nearly half of millennials (47%) believe CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about issues that are important to society, far outpacing the sentiments of Gen Xers and Boomers (28% each).

An even larger six in 10 millennials (56%) say that business leaders have a greater responsibility to speak out now than in years past.


This is according to CEO Activism in 2017: High Noon in the C-Suite, a report commissioned by Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research.

“When dozens of CEOs spoke up about the new administration’s decisions regarding issues like climate change and travel to the US from select countries, for example, social media ignited, protests erupted and media attention exploded. Navigating how to communicate a company’s point of view in this environment is becoming increasingly complex and important. Future generations will only pay closer attention to how companies communicate around their values when it comes to deciding where to work or who to purchase from,” said Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick.

Millennials’ buying decisions influenced by CEO activism

CEO activism positively affects millennials’ purchase decisions, according to the survey. Half of millennials (51%) say they would be more likely to buy from a company led by a CEO who speaks out on an issue they agree with. This rate has increased since 2016 (46%). This form of “voting by wallet” is not to be ignored as companies fiercely compete for customers. By comparison, CEO activism is less likely to affect the purchase decisions of Gen Xers and Boomers.


The risk of silence

This survey also asked consumers what they think the risks are of not speaking out. Half of Americans (47%) believe the biggest risk of a CEO not speaking out on a hotly debated issue is some form of criticism, whether it comes from the media (30%), customers (26%), employees (21%) or the government (9%). Top perceived risks do not differ by generation.

“For companies looking to increase sales, recruitment, innovation and word of mouth, millennials’ bias toward CEO activism should not be overlooked. This generation is heavily purpose-driven and is already changing the game when it comes to how we work and where people want to work,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist of Weber Shandwick.

Source:; 1 Aug 2017

Men are ‘more responsive’ to online ads: Eye-tracking research

In a study by Shutterstock, men looked at ads longer and noticed more ads than women.

An image of a child in a ballpit with a heatmap showing where most people’s eyes were drawn.

An image of a child in a ballpit with a heatmap showing where most people’s eyes were drawn.

Men are more responsive to online ads than women, according to an eye-tracking study by picture provider Shutterstock.

Shutterstock’s study, carried out by eye-tracking specialists Lumen, found that simple image-led online ads which mirror the demographic profile of their target audience perform best.

Males looked at the ads for 0.4 seconds longer than females (0.9 seconds vs 0.5 seconds) while noticing a third of the ads in the study compared to a quarter for females.

Meanwhile image-led ads featuring children were shown to be more engaging to parents: those with children viewed 25 percent of these ads for an average of 1.3 seconds, compared to those without children who viewed 22 percent of the ads for an average of 0.8 seconds. Similar figures were found for images of an elderly couple being viewed more by people aged over 55 years old.

Data also showed that marketers selecting the correct images can double the amount of time that online ads are viewed on desktop.

The top-performing ad was viewed for 1.4 seconds, compared to a benchmark dwell time of 0.7 seconds.

Jeff Weiser, chief marketing officer at Shutterstock, said: “It’s notoriously hard to prove the effectiveness of online ads but this study goes a long way to showcasing what type of images engage viewers and therefore what kinds of ads are most effective. For marketers looking to produce online ad campaigns, they should seek to use simple imagery that appeals to the target demographic.”

The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, 150 panellists were shown 65 images (taken from Shutterstock’s picture library) in a randomised order to find out which were the most engaging. In the second phase, the top, middle and bottom performing images from the first study were used to create 16 image-led ads, which were then shown to a panel of 148 individuals, within a “typical online browsing environment”. Throughout the entire study, panellists’ eye movements were tracked to measure engagement.

Source: Campaign UK; 24 July 2017

Sound advice: How to reach new audiences through streaming audio

Audio streaming is reaching audiences in places that video can’t go – it’s time to get your message into people’s ears

Streaming media is now well and truly mainstream – but it’s time to stop thinking of it as a homogenous mass. The different types of media we stream, and the ways in which we stream them, are creating new opportunities to connect with audiences – and to better understand them.

Nearly half the online population now streams entertainment content on a weekly basis, according to research – but what’s most interesting is how audiences are consuming different types of streaming media. 60 per cent of music streamers are listening on mobile devices, compared with 40 per cent of TV and movie streamers – and they’re listening to audio in places that video simply doesn’t penetrate.

For example, commuters are five times more likely to stream audio content than TV or video. When you’re working out, you’re 3.5 times more likely to be listening to content than watching it. And when you need to concentrate, the last thing you want is to be distracted – so it’s not surprising that three times as many people who are focusing listen to audio rather than watching video.

Audio is a particularly evocative medium. Podcasts directly address the listener, as Lea Thau, host and producer of the podcast Strangers (Radiotopia and KCRW) points out: “People actually listen…you are talking right inside someone’s head.”

Music builds an even more emotive connection, with studies revealing that people use music to regulate their moods and emotions. Streaming audio offers insights into why listeners have picked the tracks they’ve chosen, too; the 1.6 million followers of Spotify’s Dance Workout playlist are likely feeling very different to the 380,000 who are listening to Breakup Songs. Where social media enables people to present their public face to the world, music creates a more personal, intimate bond with listeners. “There is a really strong connection between music and experiences,” says cognitive neuroscientist Amy Belfi. “Music can take us back into a specific moment and cause us to feel all the emotions we were feeling then.”

The good news for brands is that many streaming audio listeners are expecting to hear advertising alongside their music and spoken word content. While many services offer a paid, ad-free tier for subscribers, ad-supported free options are also available. An estimated 15 per cent of the internet-using population is currently streaming music weekly using free services – going up to 20 per cent in mature streaming markets like Sweden and the US. It’s not surprising, then, that the music streaming ad revenue opportunity is worth $1.5 billion today – and it’s expected to reach at least $7 billion by 2030. The market for contextually-relevant, emotive and intimate advertising on audio is here – and it’s growing.

Three ways brands can use the power of audio to reach consumers

Build intimate, one-to-one connections with consumers

Audio has 100 per cent share of voice, and audiences are primed to listen – so think about how you can use native content and dynamic creative to reach them.

Target moods and activities

Correlating data such as time of day, location and playlist titles, it’s possible to gauge listeners’ moods, whether they’re working out, concentrating or getting ready to go out. Use this to direct targeted advertising that builds emotional connections.

Consider how people are listening

Listening in the car, on mobile devices and on smart speakers are very different activities and demand different types of messaging. Think about whether you’re addressing people directly, through their headphones, or making up part of the “background noise” as they drive, cook dinner or relax.

Source:, 17 Feb 2017

The millennials are coming

In 2016, millennials purchased 4.1 million vehicles in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of the market. They now drive changes in automotive marketing and product features and are likely to influence future automotive developments more than any generation before them.

Autotrader found that millennial vehicle buyers do 61 percent of their research and shopping online and just 12 percent visiting dealerships. “Millennials feel the Internet is four times more helpful during the shopping process than TV or newspapers.”

And millennials like communicating through images more than older groups, Autotrader said.

Jaguar and Land Rover tried to capitalize on the millennial taste for photos and videos during last year’s multicity Art of Performance Tour and allowed participants to test drive cars. Using in-car video technology and special effects, videos were created for participants to post on social media.

Click here for the full report

Source:; 27 Feb 2017

Reaching out to Malaysia’s digitally savvy Gen Z

With a monthly disposable income of 327 million USD, Malaysia’s 9.06 million strong Generation Z is one that is incredibly valuable to brands.

But unlike their Millennial predecessors the group of 13 to 21 year olds has only ever known life with the internet, and has a completely different outlook on connecting not only with each other, but also with brands than previous generations did.

In fact, for many the line between the digital and physical world is a blurry one and Gen Z will actually look to their presence online, rather than human interaction, for validation of their behaviour and consumer choices

The Epinion team recently conducted a study looking at Malaysia’s Gen Z which threw up some very surprising findings, and valuable insight for brands.

One of the more unexpected results was how digitally savvy, yet socially awkward this group of young people is.

Unlike previous generations who yearned for freedom and exciting social experiences, this cohort would rather be cocooned at home connecting with friends online, most going so far as to describe face to face contact as ‘uncomfortable.’

Almost all own a mobile phone, including 79 per cent of those aged 13- 15, and see it as an extension of their person, rather than an accessory – most know where it is at all times.

So if brands want to connect with Malaysia’s Generation Z they must share simple, bite sized messages that can be consumed via mobile, specifically via chat apps which 65 per cent said was the method they felt most comfortable talking to their friends.

But this isn’t an opportunity for lightweight messages; this is a generation that is not only has a high digital intelligence (so unlikely to fall for clickbait or false promises) but is also one that cares about the world around them.

We found 74 per cent of Malaysia’s GenZ said they were concerned about recycling and environment protection, 73 per cent freedom of speech and 71 per cent with education for everyone.

Clearly, if brands want to hold some sway with this socially aware group they must show they support a higher purpose.

For brands to do well here must demonstrate an element of empowerment, responsibility and general social conscious.

However, what might be most importantly to brands is how smart and in the know Gen Z is. For despite being young, their opinions are trusted by their families when it comes to decision-making for household purchases thanks to their knowledge acquiring abilities, ultimately hugely increasing the sum Gen Z has to spend directly and indirectly.

Source:; 18 Aug 2015

How online video helps consumers in the I-want-to-do moment

We no longer go online; we live online. This change has fragmented the consumer decision journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Being constantly connected has increased expectations for immediacy and relevance for consumers. More than ever before, brands have the opportunity to earn loyalty by delivering relevant content to win people over—one micro-moment at a time.

One such moment is the ‘I-want-to-do’ moment, when people need help to get something done. Ten years ago, if you wanted to know how to set up a new printer, bake perfect cookies, learn how to play the violin, or unclog a sink, you might have reached for a manual, combed through a giant recipe book, attended a class, or called your mom and dad for help. These days, you’re far more likely to pick up your smartphone to search for helpful content.

Asia turns to video on smartphones during I-want-to-do moments

Storytellers across the ages have advised showing rather than telling and one of the most powerful ways to show is with video. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are more than 135 million ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube worldwide.

Click here for the full document

Source: / Google APAC; 04 Aug 2015