You've got to hand it to Google: they talk and we as marketers listen with rapt attention and keen appetite at what they have to say. After all, they've more data on our internet habits than arguably any other company (though Facebook have a richer seam of demographic data) and when they discuss trends and general shifts in user behaviour, there's surely wisdom to be gleaned.
However, caveat emptor: you should exercise caution that when you adhere to Google's recommendations, you're not stepping away from your own data on your customers' habits.
Two key things to remember are:
- this data is taken primarily from Google's American market, not the UK or even Europe
- the insights are very much B2C (business to consumer) focused
The concept of Micro-Moments (and Zero Moment of Truth) before it are Google-made constructs that serve Google well. It encourages marketers to use Google products and systems to reach customers. It talks about the search and display marketing ecosystems without duly crediting the huge impact that behavioural changes in increasing app usage and the "locked in" effect that we see in other studies referencing the amount of time 18-25 year olds spend on mobile and tablet apps.
That isn't going away with the next generation. Already we're seeing internet usage amongst the next wave of teenagers favouring more time spent on apps than searching for information. They're becoming accustomed to receiving content direct into their native platforms rather than seeking it out. That will undoubtedly have an effect on how they interact with brands as they get older.
If brands don't go where their audiences are, those audiences are looking less likely to come searching for those brands in the coming years.
Take on board Google's insightful findings, but remember that your data, your insights and your own understanding of your customers is paramount and that Google's data should enhance your strategy and inform your approach, but it should never be the driving influence behind your marketing methodology.
Mobile has forever changed the way people shop. A shopper's smartphone is there for them anytime, anywhere in countless micro-moments. The question for retailers is: Are you prepared to meet these shoppers in the moments that matter most?