Thanks to smartphones, like it or not, consumers are evolving, at a rate than has never been experienced before.

Googler Jonni Lomax joined us exclusively at our Southbank London office for an evening to discuss how and why consumers are changing and how businesses like yours can evolve with them.

Our marketplace is changing

Technology, smartphones in particular, is shaping consumer behaviour. The iPhone launched in 2007, just 10 years ago, and now over half of the world’s population owns a smartphone. As a result we now live in a connected world, with information at our fingertips 24/7.

We are living in a world of moments.

Moments where we search for the nearest petrol station beacuse we are nearly out of fuel, moments we search for a locksmith because we’ve lost our keys, moments on a journey watching YouTube or reading a blog to pass the time.

This represents a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour and huge buying complexity. Paths to conversion are no longer linear, mobile has fragmented the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent driven moments.

Google has coined these moments as, micromoments. Moments of I-want-to-know, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy.

The challenge (and opportunity) for businesses is being there for those moments that matter. And to keep pace, businesses must understand how their customers are evolving and at what rate.

Google event 2017

Brand loyalty is waning

Brand loyalty is waning as we become more loyal to our needs in the moment. In those I-want-to-know, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy moments, we care about satisfying our need above all else. We think nothing of switching brand to get something cheaper, delivered quicker or where we perceive the best value to be.

Anjali Lai, lead author of The Forrester Report, a consumer behaviour report carried out late last year, said “customers are more willing to break a relationship with a brand”. This is a key message for all businesses and marketers.

  • How will you encourage brand loyalty?
  • How will you add value?
  • And how will you win that moment?

Personally I think the answer is quite obvious: know your customer, their intent, their interests, demographic etc and focus on their needs.

In a recent article Google suggested that businesses should invest in 3 key areas to improve customer experience and focus on mobile.

  • Help me faster (be quick)
  • Know me better (be useful)
  • Wow me everywhere (be there)

Consumers have the power

Smartphones have assisted a power shift. Power has moved from business to consumer. Consumers have information at their fingertips, they can educated themselves about products and services, compare prices, read reviews and watch videos. Consumers no longer rely on businesses to empower them with information to make decisions. They find it themselves.

Think about it. 20 years ago if you wanted to buy a TV what would you do?

Go to Curry’s or another retailer? Yeah probably. You’d be at the mercy of the salesperson, relying on them for information to help you make the ‘best’ purchase decision. And they’d most likely sell you the model they got the most commission on. If you wanted to compare prices you’d have to get back in your car and drive to another store, how inconvenient! This was a very linear process.

If you were to buy a TV now, what would you do?

I’d Google it, read reviews online, ask for recommendations on social media, visit a price comparison site, look through Google shopping. I’d be influenced by brand, price, delivery time and cost. I no longer rely on the salesperson to help me, I can inform myself, in many fragmented moments over a period of time. I am in control.

What we have learnt is that micromoments facilitate quicker, more informed decisions and therefore consumer expectations are higher than ever before.

Intercepting the right moments

Google can help you win moments that really matter and win the shift to mobile. Using your data, contextual signals and Google intent data, Google can help you find highly relevant audiences, in real-time and in the right context – even at the moment that they are ready to convert.

Remember: Be there. Be useful. Be quick.

5 Key takeaways

Jonni closed the evening with 5 key takeaways:

  1. Own your audience
  2. Understand your audience
  3. Re-engage prospects you know (utilising data)
  4. Intelligently target prospects you don’t know (using intent data and contextual signals)
  5. Drive conversion through winning the moments that matter (and not all do)

Final note

Google – a 20 year journey

Since Google began as a research project over 20 years ago it has grown to be the leading global search engine, used by millions of people searching for information every day.

In 2010, with just 350 advertisers, Google launched Google AdWords and today this figure has grown to well over 1 million advertisers. What Google does, better than any other information resource, is match people’s query to high quality and relevant search results, delivering information to people on the go, in the moments that matter.

The challenge for you.. Being there in those moments.

With such huge success Google are constantly innovating and developing new products to better meet users needs and maintain their market dominance in the advertising world. Automation and machine learning mean that businesses can now gain an unprecedented amount of insight into audiences and target people in increasingly sophisticated ways.

The addition of the Google Display network, Gmail ads, YouTube ads and more recently Google Shopping mean that advertisers have access to products that ensure their ads appear everywhere their customers do.

We’re super proud to be a Google Partner agency and we’d love to help you win the right moments.

Additional reading

Learn more about micromonents with a free 28 page pdf (well worth a read), as well as the latest trends and insights here on the Think with Google blog.