New Digital Index, Lab Measure Online Consumer Satisfaction Globally

Northwestern University and Performics announced yesterday the Digital Satisfaction Index (DSI), “a tool to understand how consumers make connections with a brand leading up to their final decision to either engage and purchase something or go elsewhere.”

In developing the DSI, Northwestern and Performics conducted in-person consumer interviews, surveys with probabilistic and non-probabilistic samples of more than 3,000 participants in the U.S. and the U.K. throughout Spring of 2016, and identified the four key factors of consumer satisfaction:

  • Trust measures attitudes about the credibility of information presented online.
  • Utility is the usefulness of the website or app to users. This includes assessments of how efficient it is to get things done online versus offline, and how easily information can be accessed.
  • Social represents the extent to which users value their social interactions online — both their enjoyment engaging with others and with getting glimpses into the lives of others online.
  • Privacy is the level of comfort that users have with information being collected about them online.

In my opinion, the DSI has the potential to compel brands to analyze even the most settled of marketing strategies because it creates a standardized contextual view of brands. Think of it this way: while marketers collect and analyze gobs of data about prospect behavior in their owned digital properties, the absence to date of an index of some sort made it impossible to compare on an apples-to-apples basis that performance against competitors.

I am intensely curious about two outgrowths of the DSI:

1. How closely will the DSI map to a brand’s financial performance and growth and how will those change over time? In other words, if a brand’s DSI improves, will there be a congruent rise in financial results.

2. What impact will the DSI have on companies that are seeking disruptive strategies and new business models.

Frank Mulhern, associate dean, department chair and professor of Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications program, said, “Technology empowers both consumers and brands to make digital brand connections, but consumers are flooded with messages and interactions that can be simultaneously intrusive, annoying, enabling and empowering. Through this partnership, we aim to uncover how those connections are perceived, and the thought patterns that take place leading up to that final decision to engage with or abandon a brand.”

“We built the Intent Lab because we firmly believe intent is the single-most important marketing variable, shaping the way we deliver results for our clients,” said Michael Kahn, CEO of Performics Worldwide.  “The Intent Lab’s Digital Satisfaction Index is a new industry standard, illuminating game-changing insight into online user perceptions. This knowledge will arm brands with the ability to harness the power of marketing in a post-digital world.”

The Q3 DSI report is here.

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