Google Director of Local & B2B Markets Sam Sebastian says that shopping drivers are now based on “stimulus,” “the first moment of truth,” and “zero moment of truth.” The zero moment of truth – ZMOT – is based on passive information sought by consumers.

It is reflected well in an evaluation of Google data from Jan. 2007 to December 2010 in the U.S., UK, Brazil, France and Germany. During that period, searches for reviews were up 98 percent; searches for coupons were 339 percent; Local search was up 177 percent; and searches for weight loss were up 154 percent. Eighty-three percent generally rely on “trust places” like user ratings or product reviews, says Sebastian, citing data recently released by Booz Allen.

“New behavior drives a surge in search volume,” says Sebastian. “You have to sell; have to optimize; and sell to repeat customers. (Especially when) they are making the emotional part of their decision.”

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