The Buyer’s Journey: Digital Marketing & Online Behavior

The Buyer’s Journey: Digital Marketing & Online Behavior

A few weeks ago, I asked work colleagues to share their own experiences on how they interact with a brand and convert on the web. The exercise was to screen capture the process and tell their story on the path of the buyer’s journey. Amazingly, we were able to find some common trends, as well as few unique instances.

You would think that since we work for a digital marketing agency, we might make purchase decisions differently than an ordinary shopper, but it wasn’t the case.

A common trend was that some colleagues completely ignored clicking on the ads after typing in a search query. They consciously decided to review the results, including the ads, but choose to go directly to the homepage of the website they chose by typing in the website URL. The reasoning was that they did not want to be directed and influenced to the page listed in the results or where they would have been directed to by clicking on the ad. They wanted to control their path while still learning more about what they were looking for.

Another common trend was that purchases didn’t happen on the first visit. It took several website and ad impressions to influence the person to purchase. They liked the item, they just had not made the decision to buy yet. As they saw remarketing ads, they made return visits to the website, and eventually most did end up buying, but it was over the course of a week or two.

Social media ads had definitive impact on purchases, as it was a common web property on which the advertising brand would show ads, while the user was casually browsing their Facebook timeline or Twitter feed. Social media remarketing was the carrot on the stick that kept the item of interest top of mind.

One colleague, who was the outlier, chose to use Google only for research on the item she wanted to buy, where she could purchase, and if the item was in stock. Though all the information gathering was online it was in store where the purchase happened. The in-store conversion gets the credit, but it was really the internet and Google that the sale should have been attributed to.

The take-away here is that no matter how much analytics tracking and attribution modeling you do, the internet and social media are largely responsible for the sales that take place. It is important to be found when someone is looking, and just as important to try to continue to engage with your potential customer online, because that is where they are spending their time.

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