Toy Story!

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have long known that the path to pur­chase is typ­i­cally a com­plex one that in­volves mul­ti­ple me­dia. A new study from Google and Com­pete re­in­forces this and shows trans­par­ently how con­sumers (shop­ping for toys) use mul­ti­ple me­dia and, in­creas­ingly, mul­ti­ple screens to make buy­ing de­ci­sions. Com­pete sur­veyed con­sumers who had “re­searched or shopped for toys on­line within the past 6 months” be­tween July and Septem­ber, 2011. Al­though there are some unique as­pects of toy shop­ping (i.e., the in­flu­ence of chil­dren) most of the take­aways and data can prob­a­bly be gen­er­al­ized to prod­uct shop­ping as a whole. The fol­low­ing are the gen­eral find­ings of the study: in­flu­enced by chil­dren and they use an av­er­age 3 on­line re­sources to shop Cir­cu­lars turn to on­line re­search within 1 week and half of buy­ers re­search up to on toy cat­e­gory terms but ma­jor­ity search on re­tailer terms mo­bile to shop and search is their #1 ac­tiv­ity Th­ese data ob­vi­ously help Google make the case that on­line and search in par­tic­u­lar are crit­i­cal parts of the con­sumer pur­chase process. Put­ting that aside, how­ever, the study is more in­ter­est­ing as an ar­gu­ment about how mar­keters truly need a multi-pronged strat­egy that in­cludes tra­di­tional me­dia, search, dis­play, mo­bile and re­views/so­cial. There’s way too much data in the study to ex­pose it all in this post. How­ever I’ll pull out a few key bits of in­for­ma­tion that il­lus­trate the broad points above. While Google and Com­pete dis­cov­ered that two-thirds of toy pur­chases (among this re­spon­dent pool) were in­flu­enced by on­line, there are sur­veys that show higher per­cent­ages than this. In­deed, the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of on­line users tap the in­ter­net for prod­uct re­search be­fore buy­ing (north of 80 per­cent ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple sources). Google found that most peo­ple shopped at home and al­most ev­ery­one at some point used PCs. But a mean­ing­ful per­cent­age of peo­ple (18 per­cent in this study) also used smart­phones and/or tablets as part of their re­search process, some of which oc­curred “on the go.” Google also found, as have sev­eral stud­ies in the past, that tra­di­tional me­dia drove peo­ple on­line to do more re­search. TV, out­door, mag­a­zines, ra­dio and news­pa­per ads all showed up as in­flu­en­tial. Specif­i­cally re­tailer cir­cu­lar and TV ads drove con­sumers on­line within the same week to do fur­ther re­search on the ad­ver­tised toys. As men­tioned above, Google also found that 74 per­cent of th­ese shop­pers used at least two sites and al­most 40 per­cent used five or more sites to con­duct their re­search. The re­port drills down into the rel­a­tive in­flu­ence of paid and or­ganic search on con­ver­sions and the in­flu­ence and fre­quency of dif­fer­ent types of key­words (brands vs. prod­uct cat­e­gories) used by con­sumers to search for toys. Dis­play ads also had an impact as did prod­uct re­views, which were in­flu­en­tial for both on­line and mo­bile shop­pers. The “big take­away,” as I’ve al­ready stated, is that con­sumers now use nu­mer­ous me­dia and re­sources to get more in­for­ma­tion about prod­ucts. Mul­ti­ple me­dia cat­e­gories came into play in this study’s pur­chase sce­nar­ios (tra­di­tional, on­line, mo­bile) as well as mul­ti­ple cat­e­gories of sites. Search was cen­tral and in­flu­en­tial but clearly not the only tool be­ing used. Reach­ing con­sumers touch­points be­comes at all th­ese

in­creas­ingly com­plex for mar­keters, as does the pro­ject of fig­ur­ing out which chan­nels ac­tu­ally had greater in­flu­ence over pur­chase de­ci­sions and con­ver­sions. To say “you’ve got to do it all,” doesn’t seem very use­ful — but it none­the­less ap­pears to be true

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