Marketing research and insights news and information. This issue's keywords: travel reviews; DIY projects; content marketing; car shoppers; social networking apps

While many rely on reviews for travel planning few actually post them, found a survey of U.K. adults by researcher TNS, per Biz Report. The survey shows 15 percent of those surveyed would not book a holiday without first looking at reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor and 39 percent said they "generally look at some reviews" while 16 percent "sometimes" check out reviews.  Twenty-eight percent said they paid "little attention" or "no attention" to reviews while researching travel. However, when asked how many post reviews about travel experiences, 11 percent said they did so "often" or "all the time" and more than half (56 percent) said they "never" post reviews and 11 percent "seldom." Older adults were more likely to post online reviews, with 13 percent of 35-to-54-year-olds doing so "all the time or often," compared with 10 percent of those age 16 to 34 and 9 percent of those over 55.

While three quarters of homeowners completed a do-it-yourself (DIY) project in the past three years, nearly 40 percent regret doing so, shows new survey from home design site Zillow Digs, Seattle. Attempting to add or expand a room to a home, like a bathroom or bedroom, was the biggest DIY regret among homeowners surveyed, with 53 percent saying they were unhappy with some aspect of the project. The fewest regrets were found around minor projects like replacing light fixtures or cabinet hardware, with less than 20 percent of homeowners regretting taking on those projects. Though many chose to do DIY projects to save money, nearly a quarter of those surveyed said their DIY project went over budget, especially for larger-scale renovations like building a deck or refinishing a basement. DIYers were more likely to stay within budget on smaller projects like painting or replacing plumbing fixtures.

Content marketing strategy is becoming increasingly important, with 79 percent of those surveyed saying they currently have a content marketing strategy in place and 64 percent plan to increase efforts this year, while 15 percent plan to decrease efforts, according to a survey of PR and marketing professionals by Marketwired, Toronto, per Biz Report. Blog posts were the most-used content format, used by more than half (55 percent) of respondents, followed by photos (29 percent) and news releases (24 percent). Other types of content used include newsletters, videos, infographics, e-books, podcasts and white papers. Additionally, the most-used social media platforms include Twitter (75 percent), Facebook (73 percent) and LinkedIn (63 percent), which are also the channels most used for sharing visual content such as photos, infographics and video. Half of the professionals surveyed said they use visuals to support content on a weekly basis and 30 percent do so daily.

An increasing number of car shoppers want technology features in the next vehicle they purchase, according to a study by Autotrader, with 70 percent of car shoppers surveyed being more likely to consider vehicles with autonomous features, such as parking assist, collision avoidance and automatic braking. Autonomous features and seamless device integration in particular are two things consumers want in their next cars, while 83 percent of consumers surveyed say advanced safety features are more important to them than information and entertainment features. Forty-seven percent of consumers surveyed said they would sync their vehicle with their smart watch if they owned one. Another 57 percent of consumers surveyed said they would prefer auto manufacturers to focus on better integrating smartphones into a generic system that would be available in all vehicles from all manufacturers such as Apple Car Play or Android Auto.

While voice calls and texting are still the dominant activities, 80 percent of U.S. smartphone owners use social networking apps at least once a day and 35 percent spend an hour or more on this activity, according to Dallas-based research and consulting company Parks Associates. Additionally, 70 percent of U.S. smartphone users watch at least one short streaming video clip every day (such as YouTube clips or music videos) and more than 20 percent of smartphone users spend more than 30 minutes each day watching them. More than 40 percent of smartphone users watch long streaming videos at least once a day (such as movies or complete TV shows) and the majority of them spend more than 30 minutes per day doing so.