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Understanding Cloud Services

The Future to Advertising Cloud Services

February 27, 2013 By Jessica Boothe, Manager of Strategic Research
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“Cloud services,” “cloud computing,” “cloud storage,” and “in the cloud” are all terms used when talking about “the cloud.” Even some reading this article might find it challenging to provide a universal definition to describe cloud-based services.

CEA recently surveyed American adults to better understand how consumers perceive cloud-based services. We looked to better understand how familiar they are with the cloud, what cloud-based services they currently use and what services they will potentially use in the future.

As consumers look to familiarize themselves with cloud-based offerings; manufacturers, retailers, app developers and/or service providers will need to learn how to communicate best what “the cloud” is and its value proposition in order to both effectively advertise and as well as sell cloud services.

CEA defines cloud computing as: “the use of applications and resources available through the Internet as opposed to a local computer or network.”

Cloud Services and the Terminology that Defines it – The Consumers’ Angle
So what do consumers say when asked to explain cloud services? When it comes to electronics and technology, a majority of consumers cite “storage” above all else to define cloud services.

CEA’s research also explored consumers’ familiarity with specific terminology of the cloud and found that respondents typically reiterated with “cloud storage.” Clearly, consumers are becoming more familiar with storage options and features of cloud computing, but what about less familiar cloud concepts? Among the terms and concepts tested, consumers are the least familiar with “in the cloud” (28 percent) and “cloud computing” (25 percent).
Q. How familiar or unfamiliar are you with the following terms and phrases? 
Accompanying low recognition of the terms, just over one-third (36 percent) of consumers say they “have heard of the cloud but not really sure what it is.” As such, it begs the question where are consumers hearing about the cloud?

A majority (43 percent) say they heard about the cloud from commercials, both on TV and online from companies such as Google, Apple and This is followed closely by family, friends and co-workers (39 percent), online articles (38 percent) and online advertisements (32 percent).

 While overall awareness of cloud-base services is low, consumers appear to notice the conversations about cloud services, even if their attention is slight. Perhaps even more noteworthy, consumers say their familiarity with the cloud is based largely by associating cloud services with specific brands. 

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