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This week sees the release of our latest GWI Brand report - tracking the ways in which consumers are interacting with companies in the online space.

From activities on social networks to trends in blogging, content-sharing and advocacy, key brand engagement headlines include:

* Word-of-mouth remains a hugely influential source of product discovery: nearly half (49%) of the online audience say that they hear about new brands and products through recommendations from friends. Online articles (52%) and search engines (42%) play important roles here too. Beyond these top discovery sources, younger groups are typically the most engaged with “newer” channels like social network updates, blogs and digital recommendations – as are consumers in fast-growth markets. In contrast, those in North America, Europe and the older age groups are often the most engaged with more “traditional” sources (e.g. in-store displays, and physical adverts / print press).

* Interactions based around social networks or content have become major touchpoints. Globally, just under a third have “liked” a brand within the last month, while nearly a quarter say they have watched a branded video or visited a brand’s social networking page/group. However, after a period of growth in 2012 and early 2013, figures from the latter half of 2013 onwards suggest that “liking” a brand is a behavior which is beginning to lose some of its popularity. This is being driven by more passive forms of networking, the shift of some social activities to messaging apps and a degree of fatigue among some users.

* Typically, internet users are at least twice as likely to be engaging with brand-relevant behaviors on Facebook as they are on platforms like Twitter or Google+. Beyond “liking” a brand, it is sharing branded photos (19%) and videos (16%) or asking product-related questions to both friends (16%) and the public (13%) which are some of the most important actions.

For more detail on any of these topics - or any of the other subjects covered in GWI Brand - please download the free summary of the report which we'll be releasing tomorrow.

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