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3 elements that motivate the research-obsessed consumer

Updated: Jul 5, 2019

Today, people can—and do—optimize their lives with search. Whether it’s taking a vacation or going out to dinner, people curate their experiences before they go. It helps them get excited, lets them feel more confident and less anxious, and makes them feel like they’re getting the most out of every moment.

Consumers use search to optimize their lives. It lets them feel more confident and less anxious.

From this research, we’ve identified three reasons why people are so intent to know before they go.


It helps them get excited

“The sooner I know what I’ll be eating, the better,” one person told us. It “helps with my dining experience and gets me excited.”

For curious consumers, getting excited often means getting a preview of what’s to come. In the months, days, or moments leading up to an experience, many are looking for a sneak peek.

In other words, the research process becomes part of the experience itself, helping to build anticipation before they even set foot out the door.


It helps them feel more confident

“I guess I just don’t like looking or feeling lost. It just gives me anxiety,” one person told us.

The time and money people have to dedicate to enjoying themselves is rare and precious. They want to get the most out of a trip, whether it’s to a local cafe, the ballpark, or halfway around the world. Working out the details in advance—prices, maps, schedules—reduces anxiety and allows people more time to enjoy themselves once they arrive.

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Source: Google Trends, U.S., June 2015 vs. June 2017.

“I try to look up information beforehand because it really helps save time and you’re much more confident when you’re going to a particular place knowing where, exactly, you’re heading,” another person told us. “I make the most of the time and I can hit all the places I’m trying to visit.”

That’s likely one reason we’ve seen mobile searches for “wait times” grow over 120% in the last two years.1 Whether they’re going to Six Flags or the DMV, people want to know what they’re getting into.


It helps them create the best experience

“I feel like I need to research so that we don’t miss anything big, and so we can find those hidden gems that make a trip special,” one person told us.

Ultimately, all this research is meant to create the best experience possible. People want to squeeze out every last drop of goodness, making sure they don’t miss anything along the way. Consumers feel pressure to do research—otherwise they’ll feel remorseful if they have a negative experience they believe could have been avoided.

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Source: Google Data, U.S., Jan.– June 2015 vs. Jan.– June 2017.

One person boiled it down to one simple, powerful statement: “I wanted to research so I wouldn’t have regrets.”


What marketers should know

For marketers, understanding the different moments and mindsets of your customers as they’re planning an experience presents a great opportunity to become a part of their consideration set early on in their decision-making process.

  1. Offer up ways to easily organize their experiences so people feel confident—and not overwhelmed—by the decisions they make. For example, offering a trip-planner tool or pre-built suggested packing lists can help put people at ease.

  2. Make it simple, fast, and easy to plan their days, save time, or plan on a budget. For example, find ways to let people tell you what’s important to them—beach vs. island view, classic or modern, budget or luxury—and then suggest matches that fit those needs.

If you can play to the research-obsessed person’s needs, you can be assistive in a way that gets them excited, relieves their anxiety, and pulls them into your experience so they don’t choose another.


Lisa Gevelber

VP, Marketing for the Americas at Google


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