Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

Is neglecting the importance of 3rd party websites hurting your market share?

In two different research studies conducted by Global Reviews for the energy and superannuation industries (in Q1 2018 and Q3 2018 respectively), it was found that:

Even though consumers had an initial brand preference in mind, they often ended up going with a completely different brand when making a purchase decision:

So what is it that happens between these two preference stages that has consumers changing their mind?

Our research studies found that:

Consumers within both industries tend to search for brands on comparison and research sites just as much as on the brand’s website itself.

Energy

 Superannuation

The major reasons for consumers turning to third party websites are:

  1. The ease of comparing different brand options on one platform.
  2. The comprehensive visibility of various options by each brand.
  3. The ability to get the best possible benefit from what is being offered.

By using aggregator and research sites, consumers are being exposed to more brands and offers on one platform that makes the use search and aggregator sites far more lucrative.

Another factor that is impacting the change of brand preference is how well brands are meeting the wants and needs of consumers.

Within the energy industry it was found that:

  • Discounts and incentives, were a major driver for final brand preference within the Energy industry.

This revelation can easily be linked to the result from our research study which revealed AGL was voted as the #1 preferred energy brand. At the time of conducting the research study, AGL was found to have significantly increased their advertising spend and refocused on promoting discounts and offers​ on every platform.

Many of their campaigns highlighted discounts and also offered bonuses such as cashback, Flybuys and Amazon Echo.

Similarly, our research study found that when it came to superannuation brands:

  • Reputation, trust and familiarity are most important to consumers when they shortlist brands as their initial preference.
  • However, investment results and low fees gain importance later in the journey – potentially as they learn more during their research.

This could be a major reason for Australian Super’s increasingly high performance.

According to consumers, Australian Super’s product looked the most attractive to them when using Canstar, owing to their low cost.

          Most use the comparison tool at Canstar where Australian Super shows a significantly lower “Annual Cost”

Since majority of consumers tend to research on brands through aggregator websites, it becomes important for brands within industries like superannuation and energy, to understand :

  • How their brand can be perceived to be more appealing on research and aggregator sites?
  • Which factors are responsible for making their brands lose out in the final brand preference race among its consumers?
  • How are aggregator sites using search to attract people to visit them instead of brand sites?

Through our research studies within these different industries, it is clear that focusing on tiny details can help brands unlock big results. Once brands know that there exists an opportunity to leverage a platform, they need to dig deep to understand the factors that can contribute to their brand’s success.

In this case it would be realising the pull that third party websites have on a consumers’ final preference and leveraging that to their brand’s advantage.

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