Google CPG blog - News and Notes from Google"s CPG Vertical

Is your site a secret garden?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A new survey from Prospectiv, a lead-generation company, further indicates that consumers are actively looking for information on CPG products online. Some 70% of respondents said that they seek information on the Internet before purchasing. Most people preferred researching CPG products via branded e-newsletters or search. The real takeaway, though, was that although consumers trust and prefer branded CPG sites for product information, 67% said they often cannot find them.

Considering how many sites are out there, this problem isn't surprising: consumers simply aren't aware they exist.

Say that a consumer has heard that antioxidants protect the body from free radicals and wants to learn more about which foods are a good source before she heads to the grocery store. She might already be signed up for a newsletter, but more likely she'll do a search. If CPG sites for pomegranate, green tea, and chocolate products come up in the natural or paid results, she's likely to go to these sites for more information (and ideas on what to pick up on her next shopping trip). Fully 40% of respondents said that the Internet influences daily purchase decisions -- "a number that's kind of astounding," according to Jere Doyle, Prospectiv's president/CEO.

We strongly believe that when people are searching, it's as if they are raising their hands to ask a question in hopes of getting an answer. Is there a better time to engage a customer if you have the answer they are looking for on your site? That's the beauty of search advertising: you are providing a solution to a current or interested customer. It's not an ad; it's a solution.

CPG sites are some of the best out there. They're rich in product and health information, lifestyle and recipe tips, and ideas and activities for families. But they are also walled gardens, and marketers need to find ways to open the gates for visitors. Whether it's optimized search, a YouTube channel, or offline media that drives consumers online, it's important to give people the tools to find and spend time with your brand -- before they head to the store.