Users Identity Matters More in the Long Term



I recently read an article on and have a different point-of-view than what is discussed.

Looking at consumers’ intent is interesting and certainly should be taken into account, but I disagree that “intent matters more for marketers than users’ identity.” Focusing primarily on intent may lead to short term action, but without identity, you are unable to measure the long term value.

I’m not surprised that the Millard Brown Digital study, cited in the article, shows that search “demographics don’t always align with user intent.” Reading the quote given by Google’s VP of Marketing, Lisa Gevelber “Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty” works if all you’re going for is a quick win. However, quick wins won’t sustain business long term.

Moving on to examples discussed further down in the article, it doesn’t surprise me that “people actually doing the searching aren’t always who marketers think they are.” Looking at the video-game insight “the majority of video-game shoppers are not millennial men. In fact, only 31 percent of mobile users searching for video games were men ages 18 to 24. The target market gets smaller when looking at YouTube demographics, which found that only 29 percent of searches came from men in that age group.” I’d take an educated guess that because that demographic is their most loyal, they have no need to search, thus why they don’t show up in the majority. I’ll also go out on a limb and speculate it’s a mom who isn't as familiar with the video gaming industry and is searching for a purchase for their kid, trying to find out the rating on a game, or maybe it’s even a tweener who wants the game and is searching.

The next example says “Only 60 percent of baby-product purchases come from households with children. That doesn't mean some college kid on a budget is living on a finals-week diet of Gerber baby food. Rather, the remaining 40 percent could be grandparents, cousins or friends.” If you don’t know who they are, how do you get them to continue buying your product. By the way, it could also be a daycare provider who would be very valuable to engage and re-target to keep them loyal in the long run.

Let’s call these “micro-moments” what they are, in-the-moment conversion sales. It’s a short term win that generates a blip but without identity doesn’t equate to long term engagement, sales and loyalty.

Posted by Melissa Amedeo on 12/16