Digital Trends: Brands can thrive if they deliver pleasant surprises for consumers

More than half of online consumers worldwide (61%) are more likely to buy from brands if they are "surprised" by serendipitous encounters that recognise the context in which they are using their technology. Some 42% of UK consumers would react the same way*, according to the latest study into Digital Trends from Microsoft.

As people’s relationship with technology matures, consumers expect an increasing number of human connections online, Microsoft reports. It notes: "People often seek an element of serendipity, of surprise and co-incidence, in online interactions – encounters with fresh content and recommendations that excite with their acute relevance. The result is human feeling."

One other insight and recommendation for marketers about this trend includes the advice that they should not become scheduled and "robotic" with the purchase and placement of advertising – otherwise they will lose the opportunity to have these serendipitous connections with consumers.

This trend for shoppers to react positively to surprising brand experiences – The Age of Serendipity – is one of eight key digital trends that Microsoft has identified as it maps changing and emerging consumer behaviour and attitudes globally toward brands and advertising. Brand Republic is publishing the insights behind these trends over a four-week period.

* From around 1,000 respondents in the UK. From around 8,000 globally in key international markets.

Microsoft Advertising has joined forces with Brand Republic at http://microsoft.brandrepublic.com to share the findings of its research insights into the future of digital behaviour and technology with brands and agencies. The first study is called Digital Trends and was conducted with IPG Mediabrands and The Future Laboratory.

Visit to find out more on emerging digital consumer trends among early adopters as well as regular and heavy Internet users. The study examined awareness and engagement with trends, and evaluated behaviour and attitudes toward technology.

Follow the debate about these findings on Twitter at @MSAdvertisingUK and use the hashtag #MSFTinsight to join in.


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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).