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How Shoppers Look, Watch and Listen for New Products

3 minute read | July 2015

While filling an unmet consumer need is an obvious goal when launching a new product innovation, developing the right product is only part of the equation for success. Opportunities may ultimately be won or lost in the store, and marketers need a strong activation strategy to generate awareness and trial. In addition, all of this must be supported by a positive product experience. But which sources do consumers rely on to learn about new products? Where should marketers invest their time and money?

As the media landscape evolves, so too do the sources consumers use to find out about new products. For the purposes of The Nielsen Global New Product Innovation Survey, we’ve grouped the sources consumers say they use to get information about new products into three media categories: paid (traditional), earned and owned. Globally, shoppers’ reliance on earned media is growing while their attention toward some paid media sources are declining.

More than half of global respondents (52%) cite TV ads a top source of new-product awareness—the second highest percentage of the 20 sources reviewed—but this has declined 11 percentage points since Nielsen’s 2012 survey. In fact, reliance on seven of the nine “paid media” sources included in the survey stayed flat or declined in the three-year period. The only paid-advertising sources to increase in importance were Internet ads and video sharing websites, which each rose one percentage point.

“Media fragmentation is largely the cause for the decline in the reliance on TV as a top source for new product awareness,” said Rob Wengel, senior vice president and managing director of Nielsen Innovation in the U.S. “While TV offers the widest audience reach, a multi-media approach is necessary to connect with consumers at all touch points. In fact, Nielsen brand awareness studies show that the combination of TV and digital advertising can increase brand recall by 33% and message recall by 45% compared to TV ads alone.”*

But creative execution counts, too. An ad should not only clearly demonstrate usage—emotional context is also important to ensure the message is memorable and persuasive. Put simply, outstanding creative sets itself apart by balancing imagination with meaningful content.

Busting the myth about Millennials and traditional media

While it’s a fairly common belief that digitally savvy Millennial and Generation Z consumers can’t be effectively reached through traditional paid advertising like their older counterparts, this assumption isn’t entirely accurate.

As expected, the youngest respondents are relying more heavily on digital and mobile tools to learn about new products than their older counterparts. But they also say they’re using several types of traditional advertising at comparable—or even greater—levels. Generation Z and Millennial respondents use TV and radio to learn about new products at similar rates as Generation X and Baby Boomer respondents, and their reliance on outdoor billboards/posters, public transport ads and ads at public events exceeds that of their older counterparts.

Other findings include:

  • In-depth looks at the top regional reasons consumers try new products.
  • Developed versus developing region appetites for new products.
  • The effectiveness of free samples in new product awareness/trial.
  • New products’ cross-generational appeal.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global New Product Innovation Report.

*Data refers to watching video ads online prior to seeing them on TV. Similar results were found when evaluating the combination of display ads and TV ads. 

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global New Product Innovation Survey was conducted between Feb. 23 – March 13, 2015, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

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