In a research study of paid, earned and owned advertising run in May 2013 and repeated in May 2015 it seems that general recall rates for most advertising and communication channels has declined in the last two years.

Apart from radio, paid advertising recall rates have fallen significantly since 2013. Two years ago 41% of American adults could recall branded content on social media pages like Facebook. In 2015 that number had dropped to 34%. In 2013, 45% of US adults could recall reading a brand related email; this has dropped to 40%. TV commercials during program breaks dropped from 67% down to 61%.  Radio is the one channel that has remained fairly constant with recall rates for radio ads dropping from 40% to 39%.  

Owned and earned content has also taken a slide.  Brand produced content such as videos, blogs and magazines was recalled by 23% in 2013, dropping to only 18% in 2015.  Brand mentions in articles and broadcast media, in other words traditional media coverage, was recalled by 40% in 2013 and only 34% in 2015.  

(Data from Omnibus PESO Surveys May 2013, May 2015)

So where do Americans engage?  Social Media, Comments, Chat Boards 

The most active space is social media with 54% of Americans reading posts once a week and more and 37% active every day - even more so for Millennials at 42%.  Next come video sites like YouTube and Vimeo with 28% reading posts weekly or more (39% Millenials, 19% Boomers). 

23% of all American adults read the comments in entertainment and news articles once a week and more – the number far higher for Millennials (29%) than for Boomers (19%). 

Hardcore forum readers (like Reddit) number 10% for weekly users (Millennials 15% versus Boomers at 6%).  

Americans prefer to log onto websites without giving personal information (27%), but one in five (21%) prefer to login with their social media account. 

Data from Omnibus Trolls Survey October 2014

And...Online Reviews 

Americans have an ambiguous relationship with online review sites. Americans rely heavily on online reviews to guide their purchase decisions despite knowing that reviews are not always honest or fair. 

The majority of Americans rely on online reviews with 78% checking out a review section before making a purchase, and nearly half of Americans (44%) active contributors.  However 49% of those who had ever written a consumer online review said that they have written a review for a product or service they haven’t actually purchased or tried.  8% of online reviewers have a fraudulent review habit and admit to doing it a lot. 

Although 68% of Americans said that overall ratings were an important part of the purchase process, 90% believe that some people review products and services without trying them and many believe that businesses manipulate reviews:

• 89% believe that businesses write negative reviews of competitors 
• 91% believe businesses write their own positive reviews (36% believe that this happens often)

Data from Omnibus Online Review Survey November 2014
Anne Gammon is associate director at YouGov Omnibus.