In November 2016, leading local marketing solutions partner, YP, teamed up with Thrive Analytics and The Local Search Association (LSA) to release findings from its research study, The Why Before the Buy. The study, which surveyed over 5,000 U.S. adults regarding their searching, shopping and buying habits across 90+ different categories within 8 different verticals, was aimed at determining what factors lead consumers into choosing (and not choosing) one specific business over another. In a webinar titled, “What Influences Conversions? The Why Before (and After) the Buy”, Thrive Analytics and YP presented key findings of the study and discussed how marketers can use research and consumer behavior models to enhance advertising campaigns.
Here are the main points:
THE CONSUMER’S PATH TO PURCHASE IS BECOMING MUCH MORE COMPLICATED.
Earlier research has revealed that consumers tend to “zigzag” from device-to-device when searching for local products and services. Not only are shoppers taking advantage of multiple devices, they are also utilizing multiple sources. The Why Before the Buy study found that 64% of shoppers use more than one source of information, with almost 20% using 5+ sources. The average number of sources used was 2.9 for all shoppers. In addition, mobile devices are playing a huge role as 57% of shoppers used some form of mobile device during the process.
These findings indicate that, not only do businesses need to advertise on multiple platforms in order to reach their target audiences, they will almost certainly need assistance as it can be very difficult to run multiple campaigns with various strategies in-house.
SECONDARY INFORMATION IS VERY IMPORTANT TO CONSUMERS AND CAN MAKE OR BREAK WHERE THEY DECIDE TO BUY.
Research suggests that there are two main types of information that consumers are searching for when making a purchasing decision:
Primary information, basic info such as a business’s name, address, telephone number, pricing and products/services offered. This information helps consumers know the basics about the business.
Secondary information, provides more context around a product or service. It includes testimonials, coupons/offers, recommendations from friends and family and “About Us” or “History” details. These pieces of information satisfy additional questions/needs consumers may have.
What’s important is that secondary information fuels 48% of shopping decisions and results in twice as much spending (on average).
So what does this mean for an advertiser- First you need to get the basics right. Most businesses understand and excel in this area. They know their products and services but often times don’t know all the details around secondary information. This is where they need to rely on partners like YP to help them. Partners can help tip the scales in their favor with good secondary information.
DATA SCIENCE AND A FIRM UNDERSTANDING OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOR ARE MAIN DRIVERS OF CAMPAIGN SUCCESS.
The second half of the webinar centered on advertising campaign management and what it takes to be successful. The concept of Data Science, the process of layering primary data that one has about consumers and businesses with secondary data obtained from a marketing partner, was introduced.
Primary data such as age, gender, HH income, business address, years in business etc… can be gleaned from research studies as well as consumers and businesses alike.
Secondary data including information such as a consumer’s previous shopping habits, demographics, geographies and search intent, is obtained in other ways.
YP’s approach to Data Science is in the use of Audience Cartography, which the company defines as, “the process and methodology for delivering audience insights based on data gathered from multiple sources including YP’s proprietary 1st party search (as well as mobile location) data”. Capturing precise consumer behavior allows marketers to create accurate, measurable campaigns that deliver greater online-to-offline conversion.
Several case studies were highlighted to reinforce the assertion that utilizing research and having an understanding of the data behind consumers’ behaviors assists marketers like YP in helping businesses grow.
The webinar concluded summarizing several key takeaways from understanding consumer behavior emphasizing the need to: choose the right (marketing) partners, use available research, run campaigns, measure results and apply what’s been learned.
For more information about The Why Before the Buy study and YP as a marketing partner, click here.