MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Consumers are increasingly on a journey along the "path to purpose" rather than the "path to purchase", according to a new report.

Google partnered with TNS Global and Ogilvy & Mather to survey 2,458 recent purchasers of products in three categories - automotive, beauty products and smartphones.

It found that consumers choose brands that engage them on points of passion and interest 42% more often than they choose competing products which simply urge them to buy the goods being advertised.

"Their path to purchase is actually their path to purpose," said the study.

There were three main reasons for consumers to go online, including entertainment, connection and, increasingly, to look for information on their passions and interests.

This last group were 70% more likely to have purchased something online in the past month compared to those consumers driven by entertainment or connection, and also 1.6 times more likely to rate a product or service on the web at least once a week.

The research further found that there was little correlation between media usage and media influence, and suggested that brands needed to focus attention away from their traditional concentration on usage and instead invest heavily in the most influential touchpoints.

A final recommendation was that brands should show how their products fitted in with consumers' lives. For 73% of consumers driven by passions and interests, a brand providing useful information in its advertising was the most important connection of all attributes, ahead of engaging them on those same passions (70%). 

Brandon Berger, worldwide chief digital officer at Ogilvy & Mather, added: "Understanding that the path to purchase is actually a path to purpose has meaningful implications for brand advertising at all stages along the consumer journey."

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff