This Best and Worst of the internet analysis took on a different approach from traditional quantitative research methods previously used, as it aimed to go deeper into users’ perceptions of the online world.

We encouraged our interviewees to reflect on the Internet. We showed recipients a random set of words associated with online and asked them to rate the best or worst aspects for them specifically.

Perceptions about the internet are generally speaking more positive and quite consistent across countries, although components of online like advertising were negatively perceived. However, when users related it to helpful informative content such as reviews, recommendations and subscriptions, it was rated positively.

This appears to be achieved through subtle and suggestive content. The research also found that when consumers have a better understanding of the internet, they are able to appreciate how useful brand interaction can be and therefore gain a more positive perception.

Online shopping was rated one of the main benefits associated with the online world, ranked in third place, after email and Google. However online shopping is also connected to concerns around privacy issues.

Key positive associations evolve around the ideas of information and knowledge, and around communication ability. Power native brands such as Google and Wikipedia stand out.

The research also looked to unearth any differences amongst audiences in the EU countries, focusing on different professions. When people who work in creative and marketing agencies were surveyed, they seem to be more focused on business, they mention words like ‘E-Commerce’ with more intensity, and Amazon ranks in third position (vs. 9 in a global sample). In addition, their approach is more focused on tech, with concepts such as ‘real-time’ and ‘cloud computing’ in their top 10. Furthermore, the agency group appears to have greater concerns about online theft (ranked in second position for agency people vs. nine in global data), the irresponsible use of internet, copyright and e-wafare.

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