If you want to know what Internet users cared most about in the last year, you need only look to the search giant Google for insight. Google’s trend data provides a window into users’ interests, needs, and wants. More than just a list of the “most searched” or “top searches”, Google’s search data can reveal to savvy businesses the emerging behaviour of its buyers (and potential buyers). Harnessing the power of these trends can help businesses connect with buyers in a more meaningful way in 2018.

So, what did Google learn about consumer behaviour in 2017? Predominantly, that a new super-empowered consumer took shape. Consumers are more curious, demanding and more impatient than they have ever been.

People are turning to the Internet for direct answers to the specific questions they have. This is seen in the types questions being directed to Google looking for relevant, useful information and answers. Not only are searchers interested in the cultural happenings that shape their lives and the world (such as asking “what is the Paris Climate Agreement” and learning more about Bitcoin), but also they are searching for answers to their questions with an ever-increasing amount of specificity. Google’s data highlights, for example, people didn’t just search “how to make slime.” They searched “how to make fluffy slime,” “how to make butter slime,” and “how to make slime without Borax.”

Access to mobile data and the prevalence of “always-on” mobile devices continues to be the ultimate game changer for empowering consumers today. People expect to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for, wherever and whenever they’re looking for it. This was seen in the increasing number of “near me” searches conducted. Across the country, people turned to search on their location-enabled devices to find stores, restaurants, and events near them at the exact moments in time they were wanted (referred to as a “micro-moment). With unfettered access to information at our fingertips at all times, users are now accustomed to turning to our devices for advice, across a much wider range of topics. And that makes no decision too small. Now, anything users are considering buying—no matter the category or price— is likely to be, researched on mobile first. In other words, consumers are becoming research-obsessed, even about the small stuff.      

There exists also the immediacy of need that is served well by mobile searching. When a consumer searches at the exact moment they need something, they are prepared to make an on-the-spot decision and expect immediate information, which leads to the expectation of getting the required product or service straight away as well. Increasing volumes of search for terms that include “open now” and “same-day shipping” show us that people are becoming unwilling to wait even a few days for their needs to be met.

2017 search behaviour also showed how willing today’s Internet users are prepared to take swift action when crisis strikes. No longer are people content to simply follow mainstream news coverage, rather they are itching to take action and help out their fellow citizens. Internet users turn to search to find ways to lend a hand in the moment. The data shows people are eager for information on how they can make an immediate difference when disaster strikes.

So, what does all of this mean for business in 2018? Business should expect the continued evolution of a super-empowered consumer with ever-rising expectations. Internet users will ask more detailed questions, want more personally relevant answers, and they’ll want it all faster than ever before.

Contact us today to learn how CQA can help connect you with today’s B2B consumer!