How does this relate to advertising for small business?
Search and ZMOT continue to grow in importance and scale. In the span of a single month, Google answers over 100 billion searches. The ubiquity of smartphones means that ZMOT is no longer defined by a single discrete moment ("when I open my laptop and search"). Instead, it's an integral part of the constantly connected consumer's entire day. Search is always accessible—from anywhere, on any device and at any given time. In fact, approximately one-third of all CPG searches now originate from smartphones, according to Google Search data.
As consumers' behavior has evolved, so must the ways in which brands engage them. In today's always-connected, mobile-first world, how do you continue to win the Zero Moment of Truth? Here are four tips and questions to explore:
1. Use search to uncover and understand the moments that matter
Long before many brand managers even knew what they were, consumers were searching for things like "greek yogurt," "BB cream," and "ombre hair." If you had to guess what kind of stain is searched for most, would you know the answer? Overwhelmingly, it's "red wine stains." Do you know what's in the collective mind of consumers right now? (Answer: coconut oil). The trick is to use search to identify the moments that matter to consumers and act on them across your entire marketing mix.
2. Be present in the moments that matter
Woody Allen is often credited with saying, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." This is especially true when it comes to digital. You can't be a helpful brand partner and improve the lives of consumers if you're not present in the moments they need you most. And increasingly, these moments are happening on smartphones. On mobile, do you know how many people are searching for your brand? Your category? How many of those times do you show up? How many times do they choose you, and why? Most importantly, how many times does your competitor show up, but you don't?
3. Have something interesting, relevant and/or engaging to say
We've established that you need to have an answer to these many consumer moments, but do you have the "right" answer? And does your ad provide the best possible experience across screens? A search for "hairstyle" on, say, a Friday night probably means something different than it would on a Saturday morning (ideas for a quick hairdo for a night out vs. ideas for cuts for an upcoming salon appointment). Links to products may not be enough to hook consumers. Your ads should provide an experience that's as informative and entertaining as possible: links to rich content on your website and opportunities to engage on Facebook or watch videos on YouTube, for example.
4. Measure the impact
You've managed to successfully capture the Zero Moment of Truth. Now what? To what degree does a ZMOT win advance business KPIs such as awareness, consideration, purchase intent, trial and repeat and purchase considerations? A new study from Google and Ipsos MediaCT, for example, shows that search ads drive brand awareness: The results reveal an average increase of 6.6 percentage points in top-of-mind awareness, from 8.2% to 14.8%—a lift of 80%.
Brands that are committed to the Zero Moment of Truth—the ones that use search to uncover and understand the moments that matter, that show up, that provide the right mobile-relevant answers and that measure the impact—stand to gain a competitive advantage. More importantly, they can help consumers when they need it most. At the end of the day, what matters more?