Paying attention to trends in online consumer search behaviour can help you create more impactful marketing campaigns in the year ahead.

search trends

As we approach the end of another year, marketers are gathering data to better anticipate what their customers will want and need to see from them in the months ahead.

A smart way to analyze what your potential customers are thinking is to look at what they’re searching for online by reviewing trends in Google search data. Google processes over 8.5 billion daily searches, and these search queries can show patterns that are very useful to marketers.

Your marketing will drive bigger returns when your strategy is regularly updated and aligns with the emerging changes in consumer behaviour and expectations.

7 Google search trends for marketers to watch

A marketing strategy should grow and evolve, reflecting changes in what a company offers and what its customers need to know about the organization. The strategy should also change to reflect consumer trends and priorities over time.

Google search trends are an excellent way to monitor what consumers think and want to see from brands in upcoming marketing campaigns. In addition, these trends help you pinpoint whether interest in a particular area is expanding or contracting — helpful information when deciding where to invest your marketing budget.

Let’s look at a seven Google search trends marketers should heed for the year ahead.

1.     Offer shoppable content

We’ve become accustomed to interacting with our favourite brands and shopping online. Now the challenge for marketers is to streamline the buyer’s journey to make buying easy no matter where a shopper finds your product. Brand interactions should be meaningful and relevant to your target audience while also offering your customers the opportunity to purchase from you as efficiently as possible.

Shoppable content goes beyond traditional online purchasing. Consider where people are encountering your brand and open shopping in more channels. Social media accounts no longer need to drive to product pages on your website, which means you don’t need to risk a shopper losing interest as they click through pages. Removing a step and offering shops on social media allows your customers to purchase directly from your posts without second-guessing their purchases.

2.     Prioritize inclusivity

Organizations are learning that customers want to engage and do business with companies that share their values. Having a statement regarding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on your website is no longer enough. People who choose your brand will want to see commitment to DEI in your hiring practices, in your marketing campaigns and everywhere your brand appears in public.

You can help keep inclusion at the forefront of your marketing efforts by learning more about your market, the diversity of your customers and their concerns. Next, you’ll want to build marketing campaigns that recognize this diversity and don’t exclude marginalized groups. Finally, allow your brand and messaging to evolve as you continue learning what your customers want and need.

3.     Share your sustainability values

Concerns about climate change, net-zero commitments and sustainability practices are no longer fringe issues discussed by a few “green” companies. The more consumers learn about global warming and sustainable development goals, the more they expect the brands they buy from to have a public stance on sustainability.

Be ready to offer clarity and act in alignment with your values. Customers appreciate transparency regarding supply chains and will have more respect for companies that continually strive to improve their procurement practices. In addition, sourcing products responsibly can go a long way toward building loyalty with customers who want eco-friendly shopping options.

4.     Create content for voice search

As people continue to rely on digital assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Echo, marketers will need to ensure their online content is optimized for those searching for products and services using speech recognition software. These tools allow consumers to use voice-to-text technology to speak their search queries while engaged in other activities and make purchases through voice commands.

Understanding how your customers search for what you sell and structuring your content to answer their queries is key to showing up in search results for these audiences. You can optimize your content for voice search by using conversational language and key phrases, and answering common questions.

5.     Protect customer data and privacy

Customers have been providing their data to shop online for years, but over time, they have become increasingly concerned about how much of their private information exists online. People want control over how their data is collected and used online, and advertisers must refine their strategies to align with higher standards.

Any company collecting customer data online must create and consistently follow established practices to protect customers. There should be rules about how data is collected, stored and kept secure. You must also be careful to share why you gather this data, how it will be used and if you’ll share it with any external party. Transparency about data should be a regular part of a brand’s messaging and communication.

6.     Say goodbye to third-party cookies

Marketers have been collecting data about internet users for years. A small file, called a cookie, was embedded on someone’s computer when they visited a website, feeding information back to brands to help companies understand what their target audience was interested in online. This information, called third-party cookie data, has been used to benefit brands but was often credited with improving user experience.

However, this tracking became less popular over time, and Google finally announced that these cookies would eventually be phased out. In their absence, brands will need to work harder to collect relevant data on their customers in ways that meet rising consumer privacy expectations.

7.     Tie marketing to business outcomes

Companies that want to stay competitive and relevant in their markets need to spend a portion of their annual revenue on marketing. However, getting buy-in on big budgets can only happen when you can show a measurable return on the investment (ROI). It’s no longer enough to show that a campaign was popular or viewed by high numbers of internet users. Companies want to see that attention online translates to revenue.

These expectations make good business sense, but marketing ROI has historically been hard to measure. With more tools coming into the picture, it’s easier to collect data and analyze the effectiveness of different tactics and campaigns. Consumer research and data collected from marketing tools can help you create a clearer picture of what’s working for your business and what’s not.

Online search behaviours can give us a window into what potential customers are looking for and what they expect from brands in the year ahead. Marketers looking for a competitive edge can pull insights from search trends to help make their campaigns more relevant to shoppers.

Shifts in consumer behaviours and priorities can help you build memorable marketing campaigns that align with what your audience cares about. Looking at developing marketing trends can help you position your company to make a bigger impact in your market.

Download our Digital Marketing Template and get ready for the trends that will shape marketing in the year ahead. We’re happy to book a consultation with one of our Postmedia experts to help make sure you’re on the right track.