March 21, 2009

Young people especially receptive.

Want to get Internet users to visit your Website or follow your brand?

The best way to accomplish those tasks, according to ARAnet, based on polling by Opinion Research Corporation, may not be advertising.

Compared with banner ads, pop-up ads, e-mail offers and sponsored links, articles that include brand information were most likely to lead US Internet users to read—and act.

In addition to making a product so compelling it demands coverage, this requires a more natural, PR-focused strategy of getting the word out. Or in some cases, tailoring ads so they look like articles.

How likely viewers were to take action depended slightly on demographic factors. About one-half of both men and women were likely or somewhat likely to respond to articles that have brand information included in them.

Internet users were more likely to take action the younger they were, and African-Americans and Hispanics were more likely to take action than whites.

“A key finding for marketers is that younger audiences respond to information that reaches them in the form of articles,” said ARAnet president Scott Severson. “More than two-thirds of the respondents between 18 and 34 said they conduct Internet searches for products or services they read about in online articles either very frequently or somewhat frequently.”

Long-shunned pop-up ads remained the least favorable option for every audience segment, regardless of age, race, income, sex, region or size of household: 87% of respondents said they were not very likely or not at all likely to read and respond to them.

How can a company attract attention from potential customers without a large PR team, a clever writing staff or a CEO that gives out business cards to anyone with enough fingers?

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