Columnist Kerry Jones shares findings of a consumer survey that reflect positively on customer reviews, search, direct mail offers and content marketing.


The era of noisy, low-value marketing is over. With so many people actively resisting interruptive marketing messages, marketers need to reconsider what the ideal marketing strategy looks like to consumers.

Fractl (my employer) and Moz recently teamed up to gauge consumer perceptions toward various marketing tactics. As part of the study, we surveyed more than 1,000 people about what influences their buying decisions, how often they engage with ads, and more. Read on for some of the survey’s most compelling findings.

More Than Four-Fifths Of Consumers Use Online Discovery Methods To Learn More About A Company


Not surprisingly, our survey found that the majority of consumers are researching companies online.

  • 88 percent use online search
  • 85 percent visit a company’s website
  • 82 percent read customer reviews

Following social media accounts (27 percent) and downloading content (11 percent) are less popular methods for researching a company online.

Asking survey participants about their online behavior within a week’s time gave additional insight into how they’re interacting with brands.


Within a week, almost the entire survey sample (93 percent) had looked up a company via online search, and 89 percent read an online article. Additionally:

  • More than half of respondents (51 percent) had downloaded content from a website.
  • About half had given their email address to a company.
  • 29 percent followed a company on social media.

It’s interesting to note that only 11 percent said they download content from a company to learn more about them, as opposed to the majority of respondents who had downloaded any type of content within the last week. This difference may be because people are downloading content that provides something useful, rather than promotional content.

Consumers Are Most Likely To Be Won Over By A Business Through Direct Mail Offers, Free Content And Finding Them In Search


We asked respondents to indicate which marketing methods are effective. Direct mail took the lead, with more than half (53.5 percent) saying that offers for discounts, coupons or free trials sent via mail are effective at winning over their business.

Consumers also consider content marketing effective, with more than half (53.2 percent) reporting that free content about topics of interest can help attract their business. Just under half of respondents (48.2 percent) consider online search effective for attracting their business.

Other findings include:

  • Around a third find traditional advertising (37.6 percent) and email marketing (34.6 percent) effective at attracting their business.
  • About a quarter of respondents think social media (27.4 percent), display ads (26.1 percent) and social ads (24.8 percent) are effective ways to attract business.
  • Mobile advertising is least likely to attract new business, with just 6.6 percent finding mobile ads effective.

Customer Reviews, Search, Online Articles, Traditional Advertising And Direct Mail Are Most Likely To Positively Influence Buying Decisions


Customer reviews have the greatest positive influence, with 45 percent of consumers significantly more likely and 40 percent slightly more likely to buy something they hear about via customer reviews. Additionally:

  • More than three-quarters are significantly more likely (26 percent) or slightly more likely (51 percent) to buy something they find through an online search.
  • Just over half are significantly more likely (9 percent) or slightly more likely (47 percent) to buy something they hear about via online articles.
  • About 42 percent said their buying decisions are positively influenced by traditional advertising.

buying decisions 2

On the other hand, mobile app ads, display ads, paid search and email marketing are most likely to negatively influence buying decisions.

  • More than half (56 percent) are less likely to buy something advertised via mobile app ads.
  • Just under half (49 percent) say banner or pop up ads negatively impact their buying decisions.
  • 47 percent are negatively influenced by paid search ads.
  • About 44 percent are significantly or slightly less likely to buy something they hear about via email marketing.

For the most part, respondents reported that their buying decisions aren’t affected by press releases and social media ads.

This article, What Works With Consumers? Survey On Inbound And Outbound Marketing Tactics Yields Insights, was first published on MarketingLand.

(Some images used under license from