5 Unusual Ways Your Customers are Searching the Web

The way the average person searches and how they search changes every day, every hour, after every major life event.

In 2011 ‘mortgage’ was searched 49,500 times per month, a little lower than usual, replaced instead by searches for ‘foreclosure’ (110,000) and ‘short sale’ (90,500). Economic and social trends affect what people search for and even how often they search for it. It’s no surprise that the volume of searches for words like ‘coupon' ‘cheap’ or ‘sale’ shoot up during times of economic downturn. 

When customers search for a product or service, what exactly are they searching, where are they looking for it and how will that affect the way you promote your business?
Let's jump right in...

1. They're Talking to their phones

Siri and Jeeves, now thats a stand

The use of Siri and other automated assistants means that people have begun to search the same way they would ask a question - I guess we aren’t completely done asking Jeeves.

People are searching for solutions to problems so write content or create products that solve these problems. How do I, Where do I, What are the; and so on. Inferring from this, as you market your products or services, always remember to solve a problem, answer a question and  to make your solution clear . 

2. They're Asking Tumblr First


Consumer research methods have changed drastically over the last decade. I made a jab at old Jeeves previously but, the now ask.com was once a widely accepted method of searching the web. Customers now separate their interests by social media outlets and sort common queries into ‘social media categories'.


For Example:
If Sue wants a fun way to style her hair tomorrow she might check pinterest and then browse a couple style blogs. You know where Sue isn’t going, the economist. You know who might be there? Investment banker Joe, He’s there every day, he’ll also frequent twitter for character-restricted, real-time opinions of industry experts.

The point is that a content marketing strategy targeting Sue will look completely different from one targeting Jim.  

Food for thought:
60% of consumers start their research on a search engine
60%, doesn’t that seem a bit low (You might ask)?

In todays online marketplace customers are almost as likely to click promotional material on Facebook as they are to click a link off a search engine. 

3. They Need a Second Opinion 

People want to know that someone else will vouch for the product they’re purchasing this is why so many company’s reach out to social media influencers for endorsement. Customers, now more than ever, have access to reviews and conduct research before buying a product.

When making online purchases, people on average compare at least 3 different products before purchasing.

Make sure your product has relevant and positive reviews. Consumers can no-longer be fooled by bad products in shiny wrappers. You've been warned. 

4. They're Searching for Samples

A common theme emerging is that when people shop or search online they appreciate convenience, they don’t want to look for too long or worry about facilitating an inconvenient return. Consumers have so many options (have you seen the toothbrush aisle?!), they don’t want to buy something unless they feel like it’s absolutely perfect. TBH I’d go as far as to say that the modern shopper has commitment issues. They don’t want to settle down with something just to find out there was something better, only a click away. They also have to be at a scheduled dinner - 5 minutes ago - and don’t have time to click endlessly waiting for absolution-by-trench coat. It’s why subscription boxes are rising in popularity - they’re exactly what todays adventurous, commitment weary, review driven consumer is looking for. 

The idea was to leverage the subscription model to be part of the product discovery process, We wanted to transform e-commerce from a flat, two-dimensional world by giving it texture and reality.
— 1/2 of Birchbox founders Katia Beauchamp

The average person browsing online, whether it be for a product, service or how-to, is unlikely to commit to a product right away - at least not without seeing roughly 3 reviews first, so don’t make them. When you consider how your target audience searches google, remember they value samples and once you’ve got their attention, find ways to adapt your product offering to be personalize, curated and conveniently delivered to them. Get customers to subscribe, this can be to an email newsletter (snore), or for additional services, exclusive content, literally, anything you can think of. Build a solid client base and then lock them in, make them brand loyal

5. They're Looking For Innovation


Crowed funding grew 112% from 2014 to 2015, consumers aren't just looking for products, they're looking for products that change lives. Consumers are finding unique ways to fulfill their needs and they aren’t only using search engines they’re linking in through other reputable websites that are promoting products based on perceived legitimacy.

With crowed funding creators elicit an emotional connection with the buyer before the first sale takes place. Moving forward, those who donate are more likely to recommend the products because they are invested. The 'selfless' act of giving to a small business and personally contributing to their success, prompts buyers to feel like they have contributed to something greater than a product. Therefore, when promoting your product make sure to foster an environment of inclusion where, when possible, your customers feel as though they are part of the process. 

So Remember:

Pleasing the Google gods isn’t your biggest obstacle and jumping through algorithm hoops isn’t your most challenging trick. You can do everything right, but not knowing your customers search habits could lead to your businesses’ untimely demise.  So be creative, build a business worth investing in and answer the right questions because your customers are professionals at asking them. 


Leave a comment below, let us here at Active K know if you have any weird search habits - no judgement, promise. 

Iolanda guardA

Industry Expert, Author and Digital Marketing Specialist
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