Micro-Moments Now: Why you should be the adviser Canadian consumers are searching for

Lisa Gevelber, Erica Fitzpatrick / December 2017

We live in a world with an abundance of choices, a plethora of brands, and a million and one ways to get things done. We’re all hungry for advice.

When we’re deciding on a big purchase or making a weighty decision—like which refrigerator to buy, career to pursue, or mortgage lender to choose—it’s natural that we’d not only consult friends and family, but also the wealth of digital information out there. These are big decisions, after all.

But mobile has changed things. With unfettered access to information at our fingertips at all times, we’re now accustomed to turning to a device for quick, useful advice, across a much wider range of topics. To inform any decision, we only have to turn to our phones. That means today’s consumer defines what’s high versus low consideration for herself, so marketers across categories have the chance to influence curious and investigative shoppers with helpful advice.

No decision is too small  

Nobody wants to get an unfavorable mortgage or buy a lemon while car shopping. Nobody wants to buy a crummy face cream, umbrella, or pocket tee either. Whether it’s value, style, or quality we care about, nowadays anything we’re considering buying—no matter the category or price—can be, and is likely to be, researched on mobile first. We can turn to our phones to get the answers we need to make the right decision and buy the right thing.

At Google, we see this clearly in search data. Over the past two years, searches for the term “best” grew over 66% on mobile in Canada.1 In other words, we’re all becoming research-obsessed with all types of products.

Think about a product you use every day: your toothbrush. Maybe you don’t give it much consideration, but plenty of people do. Mobile searches for “best toothbrush” have grown more than 150% over the past two years.2 And this is not a trend limited to dental hygiene. Deodorant searches have also grown by 57% on mobile in the past two years.2 What’s more, on YouTube, there are over 300K video results for “best shower curtain.” This is a really exciting shift if you’re a marketer working within a traditionally “low-consideration” category. It’s now possible to reimagine your marketing’s role in helping consumers make decisions.

There’s still no substitute for first-hand experience

We’ve always turned to other people to help us make decisions. And now more than ever, we tap into the expertise of others by searching online for product reviews and ratings, photos, and blogs. Nearly half of Canadian smartphone users search on their smartphones for information about things they wouldn’t even ask their best friends.3 Other people’s first-hand experiences help guide our product choices. We want to hear what others think and see their experiences—the good and the bad.

Searches for product reviews have been gaining traction for years. In the past two years, mobile searches for reviews have grown over 120%.2 Not only that, but people are increasingly turning to mobile video to watch reviews. In the past two years, searches for reviews on YouTube have increased by more than 85%.2

And back to those toothbrushes. Are people seeking reviews even for this basic item? Absolutely. In fact, just this year, people have used more than 25,000 different search terms for toothbrushes.4

Make your brand an adviser

Google’s research shows that people are turning to mobile and actively searching for advice across categories, even for the small stuff. By making your brand easily discoverable and understanding when and where people are searching for guidance, you can ensure you’re there with the right advice whenever people need you. We as marketers can be allies in the process, bringing real information and tips, nurturing potential customers.

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