Fewer and fewer purchases or decisions are made these days without careful consideration because that consideration has been made easy. With all of human knowledge accessible through your smartphone, we’ve all started to consult our pocket-sized oracles on almost every decision. Which university to attend, which area to live, where to work, what to buy? It’s all being googled all of the time.


So we need to pay attention to the new ways consumers are finding out about their products and services.


Statistics show that more and more of us are consulting google for larger decisions like big purchases (TVs and computers), long-term investments (insurance) and big life choices (university). Searches on Google for ‘is __ worth it?’ have increased by over 80% in the last two years.* Which shows a deep consideration for these choices. Traditionally people would turn to friends and family to advise them on these kinds of things now they’re looking to the wider online community to affirm their choices.


Searches for ‘best __’ have grown to a similar degree. An increase in searches for things like ‘best holiday accessories’ (over 110%), ‘best toothbrush’ (over 100%) and ‘best deodorant’ (over 60%) show how even small purchases are being scrutinised online.**


These insights are helpful even if the knowledge that consumers are closely scrutinising their products to this degree may be a little worrying to some. What may be even more concerning is the big upswing in searches for the phrase ‘to avoid’ in conjunction with products and services. Things like ‘holiday companies to avoid’, for example, or ‘washing machines to avoid’ have increased by more than 50% in the last two years.***


So people are clearly increasingly concerned about the negative aspects of their purchases as well as looking for the very best. It’s not surprising, we all like to be informed about the things we’re spending our money on and ease of access to the web is increasingly making us all that much more discerning.


What all of this does mean is that we, as marketers and advertisers, need to bear the active nature of their audience in mind when planning marketing activity.


Good social media reaction helps this, as it’s become the go-to place for complaints due to its easy access to brands, the public nature of it demands good customer service and the right tone of voice. A brand who does this well is Tesco who have had several public success stories in dealing with customers online.****


Another approach to reacting to this kind of online behaviour is to take the plunge and research the search phrases, ‘to avoid’, ‘is it worth it’ and ‘best’, in relation to your brand, find out what people are saying (the good and the bad) and use this information to improve, adapt and learn how your customers are talking. This will also enable the creation of tailored content to address big questions like ‘is -your brand- worth it’ to help ensure positive search results the next time you’re Googled.