Want to understand what your customers really want? Look at their web searches. Consumer search trends are a window into what consumers care about and where their current priorities are focused. Whether you are updating your B2C or B2B marketing strategy, keep these fast-growing trends in mind.
Experiences Are Key
Following the limits of peak-pandemic times, the broad umbrella of “experiences” is driving a considerable amount of consumer search behavior. Put simply, people are looking for places to go and things to do, whether that’s “old normal” activities or “new normal” hybrid-style experiences.
This trend began in 2021 and continues to this day. Google saw a major increase in searches for experiences, from entertainment and sports to “activities” like parks and festivals. Searches including the phrase “near me with indoor seating,” for instance, went up 150% in 2021, while searches for concert tickets went up 200%. Searches including “festivals near me” skyrocketed even higher, with a 500% year over year increase.
For marketers, these searches point to the fact that consumers are looking for bigger experiences. Many are still looking for experiences that take health and safety into account (note the prevalence of “outdoor seating” in one search trend mentioned above). Consider trends like interactive content and augmented reality to provide more immersive and creative experiences for consumers, as well as environmental graphics and overall “experience” content.
Renewed Focus on Sustainability
Now more than ever, consumers are paying attention to the social and environmental impacts that their choices have. Google reported a 30% year over year increase in searches containing “sustainability,” a 40% increase in searches containing “equality,” and a 30% increase in searches containing “environment.” The search engine giant also noted major increases in searches for sustainable shopping practices, such as secondhand stores and charity shops.
For marketers, this means figuring out ways to promote the sustainable actions that the brand is taking. How can you communicate those to customers? Consumers want to see proof and concrete action, so the key is working with other teams to help set, meet, and then communicate measurable, noticeable goals in areas of sustainability, DEI, and environmental impact.
Marketers can also work to present these sustainable options in ways that consumers can understand and get excited about. When brands introduce new campaigns or futuristic, sustainable technology, it’s important that they make a splash. Consider creative, accessible ways of promoting these initiatives to get consumers to see them as relatable and truly memorable.
People Are Searching for a Sense of Purpose
Across the board, priorities have shifted over the past couple of years. These days, people are truly seeking more meaning and a sense of purpose in life, and that connects to their consumer behaviors as well.
A GWI study revealed some major shifts in how American consumers are describing themselves since 2020. The research showed a 16% increase in people describing themselves as “daring,” a 9% increase in “creative,” an 8% increase in “ambitious, and a 6% increase in “adventurous.” On the flip side, consumers reported an 11% decrease in self-identifying as “thrifty,” an 8% decrease in “driven,” and a 7% decrease in “dutiful.”
These adjectives reflect a shift in priorities, away from “have to” and towards “want to.” 55% of consumers also report feeling more confident in their finances than in 2022. Put together, these statistics paint a picture for marketers of a consumer base ready to try new things. Campaigns can encourage new experiences and risks, while encouraging creativity and making consumers feel empowered.
Consider how you can combine your audience’s desire to feel creative with social media. Merging the two opens possibilities for consumer-generated content, contests, and other campaigns that get audiences feeling more personally involved.
Authenticity Is Irreplaceable
There’s no replacement for authenticity, period. Consumers are savvier than ever, and, especially among younger consumers, they have a finely tuned radar for inauthentic advertising content. According to GWI research, searches for “traditional” influencer content are down, while social media users report wanting to see funny, light-hearted content and informational and/or inspirational content more than anything.
Among younger consumers, especially Gen Z, there’s also more interest in acknowledging, rather than glossing over, the pressures of online life and “influencer” culture. GWI reported that 42% of Gen Z believes people should be more “real” on social media, while 39% are more likely to trust someone if they know their struggles, and 52% say there’s just too much pressure to be perfect online.
For marketers, this means focusing on building authentic connections. Consider long-term brand ambassadors instead of quick influencer deals, as well as marketing that encourages more nuanced conversation overall.
B2B Goes Mobile
B2B searches are more mobile-centric than ever. According to a collaboration between Google and the Boston Consulting Group, 50% of B2B search queries were made on smartphones in 2017, and that percentage was projected to hit 70% by 2020. Related research also revealed that 60% of smartphone users will contact a business directly using search results.
What does this mean for marketers looking to stand out in the B2B market? It’s all about focusing on optimizing the mobile experience. Ensure that your brand’s presence takes mobile users into account and offers convenient, easily accessible options to get information, get in touch, or place orders. With so many customers looking for mobile-friendly experiences, being ahead of the curve helps you win.