Search trends driving brands to adapt or die

Consumers google just about anything. From bra sizes, to the right type of dog, to personal hygiene questions and financial decisions. Search has become the new oracle. In fact, some questions you wouldn’t feel comfortable to ask a doctor about, we have no issue googling. Even if “Dr Google” wrongly diagnoses you with a brain tumour, the art of searching and self-research has grown tremendously.

Emerging search trends show consumer behaviours on a more granular level. Brands who understand this will have an advantage.

Meet the new breed of consumers
Today’s consumer expects information, relevant to their needs right here, right now. With an abundance of information at their fingertips, they demand answers as quick as possible with as little effort as possible even if they’re not sure what it is they are searching for. As a result, there are three types of consumers that brands need to speak to all at once, or one at a time.

  1. The curious consumer – Is research obsessed, with a mobile in hand at every decision. Mobile penetration has empowered them to make informed decisions about any purchase.
  2. The demanding consumer – Expects their digital experience to be relevant and personalised, even when they don’t know what they are talking about. They demand an effortlessly tailored experience.
  3. The impatient consumer – Wants to make a researched decision faster than ever. Mobile is driving this behaviour with 75% of consumers turning to their mobiles to address their immediate needs like lunch, at 12:55 pm.

Be the best – get 80% of searches in your sector
Mobile searches for “best” and “reviews” have grown by 80% in the past two years. And that’s not just for big decisions. No decision is too small for curious consumers, they use search throughout the decision-making journey.

This is an opportunity for marketers to influence across categories.

Search just got personal
Search trends also indicate that consumers are using search as their own personal advisory. More and more people are including qualifiers like “me” and “I” in their searches. Over the past two years, mobile searches with “for me” have grown by over 60%. Questions one would ask a friend or co-worker, they now ask search.

This behaviour is clear in search data across categories. From personal hygiene questions like “how should I wash my hair” to financial decisions like “what kind of credit card should I get”. Some go as far as making lifestyle decisions with search, like “should I go vegan”.

What does this mean for the savvy marketer?
Marketers who understand these search trends, their intent and the qualifying statements for the information they want, have a big opportunity to steal consumer attention. If someone searches “what should I have for lunch”, a restaurant in their location would want to have their menu and lunchtime specials in the search results.

Mobile searches relating to “best shoe for me” have increased by 120% in two years. Running shoe brands like Nike or Asics would want to help runners find the perfect shoe. Pet food brands like Pedigree could help a searcher find the right dog for them by suggesting quizzes or creating content around dog breeds.

Just as the answers one could find on search are endless, the possibilities for brands to assist consumers in finding their answers are endless.

A case for marketing automation
Taking the first step to delivering a timely, relevant and personal digital experience is integrating marketing automation into your digital strategy. Marketing automation allows you to add dynamic and personalised content based on an individual’s specific user profile, nurture them through the sales funnel and convert them to actual paying customers.

Once set up strategically and correctly, it captures prospects’ interests sending relevant information when they set off a trigger or based on their individual history. Marketing automation also provides granular level insights and data on targeted consumers which will help marketers develop the personal, relevant and timely content consumers are looking for.

The opportunities are endless. Savvy marketers now know that consumers want answers, ideas and inspiration in real time. Those who deliver, will see exponential growth. Those who don’t. Well. Let’s not even go there.