Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Zero Moment Of Truth

August 15, 2011

Google have published an ebook about the ‘Zero Moment Of Truth’, a term they’ve coined for all the consideration and research that now goes on before people get to the ‘shelf’ or actual purchase situation (typically called the First Moment Of Truth apparently). Clearly they have a major vested interest in drawing attention to the importance of this stage, because much of it happens online (whether on a desk computer or on mobile phones), but they’ve done some new research (although only in the US) which has a few interesting bits in it that illustrate the scale and breadth of influences before decisions are made.

For instance, they asked people who had purchased fairly recently in a variety of categories (cars, insurance, grocery, toiletries, …) which from a long list of sources they used to help them make a decision (then Google have categorized them below into Zero Moment Of Truth vs. First Moment Of Truth sources). You can see that many people are doing a lot:

Obviously it varies significantly by category, but even for decisions you would think are largely unresearched, like fast food restaurants, there’s some form of consideration phase for some people:

I often hear clients say ‘that’s not really happening in my category’ but this data indicates that it probably is, and it will be growing fast. It’s so easy now to find a bit more about before you buy – you can do it on your phone while you’re waiting to pick the kids up or in the store itself and what you get is often really useful, now that sales popularity ratings, experts’ opinions and user reviews are often readily available.

As marketers we expend loads of effort getting our ‘marketing stimuli’ right – the ads or other marketing that will trigger some interest from a consumer – but then do we expend enough effort thinking about what people will do next and how our brand can facilitate that process and have a relevant presence?  Almost certainly not.

Things that might come in useful in 2011: Part i

January 4, 2011

It has come to my attention that Google now offer a thing called Books Ngram Viewer (not the most self-explanatory of titles, you have to admit) which shows you how often words or phrases have occurred in the world’s books over the decades. Well in the 10% of the world’s books that Google have now scanned. I’m not entirely sure how useful it can be but there’s a certain nerdy pleasure to be had in playing with it for a bit: go to

For instance this is what you get for the incidence of ‘brand’ and ‘consumer’ since 1700 in books published in English in the US and UK.


Someone like me with a poor grasp of history might have thought they would have tracked roughly similarly in recent decades but ‘brand’ only really takes off in the 1990s whereas ‘consumer’ has been used since around 1910. You can click on different time periods and see the topline of the books which mention your phrase; for instance pre 1980 ‘brand’ comes up largely as the surname of the author or in the context of branding animals. Only in the 1990s do you see the kind of thing you would nowadays expect:

You can then click through and read these books on your screen. Which is kind of neat. If you have a lot of time on your hands or were researching a brand with a long history or something. 

This reminds me to check that you know about Google Insights For Search, which is in a similar vein and allows you to see how many Google searches have been done for particular words or phrases in particular time periods or geographies: For instance, for ‘brand’ and ‘consumer’ again, this time just in the UK:

Here ‘consumer’ is lower and declining, which could be interesting but you have to check that people are searching for what you assume – e.g. here ‘Russell Brand’ is one of the most popular searches involving ‘brand’ and ‘consumer credit’ for ‘consumer’. So you need to be quite specific with your terms and interpret it carefully.

And the numbers are relative not absolute – you can only gauge the level of interest in the context of other terms. So for instance add in ‘x factor’ and get some perspective:

Looking at very short time periods can be useful to understand people’s habits. For instance, looking at searches for ‘pizza express’ (one of my clients) versus ‘dominos’ in the last 30 days you can see how search interest for the former peaks on Wednesdays because they are part of the Orange Wednesdays promotion whereas searches for Domino’s peak on Saturdays when people stay in and treat themselves (plus a smaller peak on Tuesdays when they do a ‘Two for Tuesdays’ deal).

Kind of cool, no?  Use it to impress people before everyone is onto it.