Amidst economic uncertainty and recovery from COVID-19, consumer decision-making (and searching) habits have changed tremendously. Google’s Year in Search 2022 showed us how more customers are prioritizing brand trustworthiness and peer feedback before making key purchases. Read on to see which search trends reigned supreme and what marketers can do to adapt in 2023.
With inflation and “rising food prices” (a frequently searched term), many buyers have become hesitant about letting go of their hard-earned cash and are now spending more time in the research stage. This involves looking to others for reviews and recommendations to ensure they are properly informed.
Our Expert Advice: During the lead nurturing stage, you can educate prospective buyers about why you do what you do and what value you offer.
As the Google report puts it, “Value goes beyond price point. It also covers brand trustworthiness as measured by reviews, product popularity and sustainable options.”
Getting consumers to buy your product or service now goes beyond what you offer and instead includes your company’s overall brand identity. One example of this is the increased interest in sustainable brands that offer environmentally friendly products like “cheap electric cars.”
“Consumers are conducting more research before purchasing and want to ensure they invest in products and services that come from a trustworthy and sustainable brand,” says Will Kilby, TriMark Digital Paid Media Strategist Team Lead. “Advertisers need to establish trust at every touchpoint, including ad messaging. Highlighting positive customer feedback and sustainability in brand messaging puts a user’s mind at ease and can carry as much weight as an attractive price point.”
Aid and Allyship
Another major takeaway from Google’s Year in Search was the rise in the desire to help others locally and worldwide. This showed up in a variety of forms, ranging from “how to help students” to “Ukraine charity.” As more news sources kept the public up-to-date on national and global crises, consumers became interested in helping and supporting local non-profits or purchasing from companies that give back to these causes.
Our Expert Advice: Actions speak louder than words. Show prospective consumers how you take action on your mission and causes you care about.
This aid and allyship theme was also seen as the public educated themselves about gender and sexuality, with search terms like “they them pronouns LGBT meaning.” Highlighting inclusivity helped brands stand apart from competitors and show they welcome all.
The year 2022 saw many new priorities take center stage. People are seeking products and experiences that will help them relieve stress, including traveling and gaming.
Similarly, in-office jobs took a back seat as more people searched for “from home jobs.” This increased desire for work location flexibility and work-life balance provides an opportunity for companies to promote their openness to new work styles.
Beyond video conference meetings, the virtual world expanded as individuals became interested in virtual and augmented reality technologies. Users began partaking in 3D room design, where they can visualize products in their homes before making a purchase.
Our Expert Advice: “If you can offer an enhanced buyer experience through more experimental techniques, there’s a big increase in demand for that,” says Conor Dalton, TriMark Digital Director of Organic and Data. “Additionally, if you’re in a business where you commonly do consultations, having a very good process to do that virtually is a good idea.”
What This Means for Brands
“Based on these trends, brands will need to make providing long-lasting products or impactful services and experiences a priority, as well as lead nurturing,” says Kilby. “Consumers are looking for products that last and brands they can trust with as little long-term impact on their wallet as possible, which is not always the cheapest upfront option.”
To build a trustworthy brand, be transparent in your paid and organic content about your company’s actions and mission. It’s also helpful to tap into customer feedback for authentic opinions on your products or services. Dalton advises incorporating customer reviews into your SEO strategy by highlighting them on your website and marking them up with the appropriate review schema.
Finally, combine tried-and-true advertising solutions with new insights and AI-powered tools, such as adding a virtual component to your website.
We will likely continue seeing consumers concerned about the economy as we go into 2023. “At the end of the day, consumers are looking for brands that care about them, and about providing a strong value and standing behind their products,” says Kilby. “Any business can drop prices to generate more sales, but with an uncertain economic outlook and consumers staying in the consideration phase longer, well-rounded brand messaging and lead nurturing will be key to staying ahead of the game.”
See our 2023 marketing predictions for more recommendations on how you can have a successful year marketing your brand.