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Online language pathways: two kinds of language online

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Language pathways

Understanding consumer behaviour is the foundation of brand strategy. And understanding how consumers use and respond to language online is vital to informing and shaping digital communications, brand messaging and service delivery strategies.

In the first study of its kind, CDA uncovers how more than one language connects consumers and brands online. It also demonstrates how brands can strategically use these insights to target and engage customers online.

Key findings

By carrying out this study, we wanted to better understand the online linguistic processes and pathways that consumers take when they want to find things online.

We found that the language that engages people on web pages is different to the language that forms the pathways to a site. Rather, people change or adapt language terms as they refine their search from their original language of intent to terms and phrases that mirror language they see in their searches, coupled with a mechanical style they think will be better understood by search engines.

Then the language they appear to respond to most favourably when they finally engage with a website is language that more closely resembles their original language of intent – less mechanical, and more natural and human.

Language pathways

The diagram above shows language filtering and demonstrates how brands can harness it.

The diagram below suggests how we can model the integration of search language into a brand language strategy.

Planning model

The five principal takeaways for brands looking to optimise their online presence, namely:

  1. Integrate brand and search marketing strategies

  2. Understand how your customers use the Web, what their information needs are and how they want to engage with you

  3. Use the right language – human language, not sales and marketing speak

  4. Make your content useful

  5. Harness the adaptive power of language

PDF iconDownload a PDF of the whitepaper now
(PC users: Right-click this link and Mac users: Ctrl-click)

Like to know more?

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The not so small print

This article is copyright but we're happy for you to quote what we say, so long as you give us credit for it.

You can reprint all or part of this article, so long as you're given permission by CDA and clear this with us first.

We're also happy to write articles and papers for organisations and publications that get as excited by words as we do.

Any actions taken on the basis of this article are at the reader's own risk. You're much better off talking to us about your particular content needs and letting us advise you. After all, we're jolly good at it.

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