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Mobile has changed everything. Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas Lisa Gevelber explains how marketers across categories now have the chance to influence shoppers who are searching for everything from mortgage lenders to toothbrushes.

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 these 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. Not only have mobile searches for “best” grown over 80% in the past two years[download],1 but searches for “best” have shown higher growth among “low-consideration” products than “high-consideration” products.2 In other words, we’re all becoming research-obsessed, even about the small stuff.

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 100% over the past two years.3

And this is not a trend limited to dental hygiene. Some other categories that show growing “best” searches on mobile include:4

  • Best umbrellas (over 140%)
  • Best travel accessories (over 110%)
  • Best deodorants (over 60%)
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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.

Advice is not one-size fits all

When it comes to seeking advice, what I want to know isn’t necessarily what you want to know. Luckily with search, people can get really specific and still have confidence that they’ll get useful information.

Take shoes, for example. Yes, people want to learn about the best ones—and in some very personal and particular ways. Below is just a sampling of specific mobile searches that have been growing in this category.

  • Best running shoes for flat feet
  • Best shoes for nurses
  • Best trail running shoes
  • Best shoes for plantar fasciitis
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The personal nature of advice-seeking also means that sometimes it’s product decisions we’re after, and sometimes it’s more lifestyle related. For example, we’ve seen huge mobile growth rates both for “best anti-aging skin care products” and for “best skin care routine for ‘30s,” things that people previously rarely searched. Explore search data for your own category. What is the range of things that people want to know?

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. Others’ 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. Still, in the past two years, mobile searches for “product reviews” have grown over 35%[download].5 Not only that, but people are increasingly turning to mobile video to watch reviews. In the past two years, videos with the word “review” in the title had more than 50,000 years worth of watch time on mobile alone[download].6

And back to those toothbrushes. Are people seeking reviews even for that basic item? Absolutely. Mobile searches for “toothbrush reviews” have more than doubled over the past two years.7

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.