Changing Behaviour: Making more of the moment

May 2015

It’s incredible to contemplate but in just five short years it is predicted that the world’s population will be interacting daily on their phones as many times as there are stars in the Milky Way. 

But that kind of mind-blowing concept just shows how quickly mobile has become embedded in everyday life. We now spend more time on mobile devices than on personal computers. Mobile has become more than a device, it’s a behaviour – 92% of young adults now have smartphones and the next generation are living their lives on mobile. It’s a long way from the time when you had to carry a coin in your pocket to make a call from a phone box... 

The Intention Economy  Technology and human behaviour are intrinsically linked and online behaviour can be a clear indicator of thoughts, feelings and intentions. Digital behaviours are signals, providing insights into who your customers are and what they’re doing. 

This means that marketing has moved from the ‘Attention Economy’ to the ‘Intention Economy’; from a focus on perceptions to actions, from being interruptive to making the most of the moments that matter to your consumers. 

The aim for marketers of reaching the right people with the right message at the right time remains the same but now we have much better tools to achieve this and to help improve our ability to understand potential customers. 

Search provides a clear indication of consumers’ thoughts, feelings and intentions. Humans have always searched for things - the essentials of life; food, water, shelter and the existentials of life; art, music, Shakespeare. Search is a basic human behaviour and now we can understand these behaviours at massive scale with amazing precision. 

Behavioural Change  We can now see how people’s priorities, wants and needs change. For instance, at Google we know that expectant parents are twice as likely to search as non-parents and the nature of their queries changes as their children grow up. For them, we are acting as a proxy midwife, doctor and advisor. 

But we all have to innovate to keep up with the changes in behaviour. For example, the nature of the queries people are typing into their mobiles and desktops is moving from the simple ‘What?’ form of query to more complex requests, such as ’Why?’, ‘How?’, ‘Translate’ or ‘Convert’. We are working hard to answer more than just the immediate search request and instead provide complementary knowledge that ties into previous search history. 

Beyond search, we’re seeing two behavioural trends collide with YouTube – the craving for entertaining or useful video content (YouTube is the second largest search engine), and the desire to watch in snack-sized chunks on mobile, which 50% of people are now doing. 

The challenge for marketers is to really think about how they engage YouTube viewers, on big and small screens. Marketers have to make an impact in the moment - the first five seconds - and those who can read the signals and supply more of what people will reap the rewards. 

Understanding At Scale Understanding what people do is the best way to understand who people really are. Behaviour is the signal, rather than the noise. To understand human behaviour on the web at scale and to act on it we need to utilise programmatic tools. There is just too much going on to be able to process and draw out insights from without the help of automated intelligence – every second alone there are 44,000 Google searches, 90,000 YouTube video views and 7,000 Tweets! 

For the past 16 years, Google’s mission has been to organise the world’s information, which now includes the world’s audience signals across our platforms. 

With such amazing understanding of how potential customers are living their lives moment-by-moment it is an amazing time to be a marketer. There is a great opportunity to deliver truly stellar brand campaigns and results by making more of the moments that matter.

Please watch my presentation below to learn more about making more of each moment.

In the opening keynote at Brand Re:Imagined Eileen Naughton, Managing Director, Google UK & Ireland, discussed how better understanding changing behaviour and consumer signals can help brands make more of the moments that matter.
‘Why?’ dominated the 2020 Google Year in Search