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Consumers are Researching More to Prevent Regrets

Lisa Gevelber, May 2018 Search, Consumer Insights

Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas Lisa Gevelber explains how more and more people are using search to optimize their real-world experiences.

Are you a restaurant obsessive? Do you know someone who is? You know what I mean. You’ve got a group dinner coming up. After back and forth about time and location and type of cuisine, you all agree on a restaurant and make a reservation. Most of you likely leave it at that.

But there seems to be one in every group who goes to the restaurant website and scours the menu. He hits multiple review sites, social feeds, and turns to search to find every scrap of information available. Maybe he’s just trying to get a jump on the ordering process. Maybe he wants to see prices. Maybe he wants to see photos of the food or which dish is considered the house specialty. Maybe he wants to be a helpful hero, crafting the best possible experience for everyone else.

Not only does he want to be prepared, but he finds the preparation emotionally rewarding.

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.

Consumer Search Behavior

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

At Google, we’re research obsessed ourselves, continually talking to people and looking for search trends that help us understand what people are doing and why they’re doing it, so we can better assist them. 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.

For example, when planning a dinner out, people search for the “best thing to eat at a restaurant” or to find a “restaurant with good desserts.” Or when planning a vacation, they want to find and understand the experience before they take part in it themselves, searching for “things to do in Maui” or “reviews of the train to Machu Picchu.”

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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