IE Focus || Social web and involvement

By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School, published on IE Focus

One of the key factors driving the boom in so-called social media is customer involvement, now the subject of extensive study.One of the main drivers of the boom of the so-called social media is so-called customer involvement. This represents a measure of how far the customer gets involved with the sender of the message, and is now the subject of extensive study.

Have you ever considered the general effect your messaging has on your target public? In a world full of media that is technologically limited to being unidirectional, the answer to this question was very inexact: we could only find out by using panels or surveys, which were always approximate, and we were unable to associate the answer with specific subjects or try to measure it in purely binary terms: one, buys the product or service, or zero, doesn´t buy it. This absence of information means that communication via the net can be measured or evaluated in a large number of ways that businesses are starting to discover. 

On the social web, users´ reactions are gauged by that fundamental variable: involvement. The minimum involvement of a user in terms of content is to simply “watch it go by”; the content appears and the user simply moves on to something else without interacting with it. Display advertising, for example, is a clear case of this: we can´t even be sure of whether or not the user has actually seen it or stopped to look at it. In fact, display advertising is a luxury in comparison with other media: we can at least know whether or not a specific user has received the impact and then act accordingly. In the press, we can only know the number of newspapers that have been sold and, on television, we have to trust a frugal scattering of audience meters that provide measurements that are poor and few and far between, but which everyone decides to believe since there is nothing better.