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Intent beats identity

News, 23 December 2015

NEW YORK: Marketers who rely on traditional demographic breakdowns of target audiences rather than their intent could be missing out on up to 70% of potential mobile shoppers, research has said.

That's according to Google, which highlighted several examples of how automatically defaulting to a presumed set of buyers can be limiting. For example, only 31% of mobile searchers for video games are men aged 18 to 34, leaving 69% who marketers are likely missing out on if they are using only demographics.

And since search is often the top method people use to find out about products, a degree of intent is already established. "Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty," said Google.

Other instances where initial assumptions might be incorrect included the fact that 56% of those carrying out mobile searches for sporting goods are female, that 68% of skin and body care influencers in the previous six months have been men and that 45% of home improvement searchers are women.

Home improvement retailer Home Depot has taken note of the last point and built a content-marketing strategy around hundreds of "how-to" videos on YouTube which have amassed more than 48m views.

"We're now laser-focused on how we can use digital to deliver against our customers' needs every moment of the day and every step of their home improvement experience," explained Trish Mueller, the retailer's senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

While Home Depot may be ahead of the game, such "moment marketing" – where marketers identify specific, brief opportunities to put the right message in front of the right consumer – will only grow in the coming year, according to the Warc Toolkit 2016 which highlighted several ways in which brands are approaching this task.

Targeting context is one, and this can be divided into internal and external influences, the former relating to personal factors which impact our appreciation of messaging, such as moods or physiological states such as hunger, the latter to the environment in which a message is received, which could be the social setting, the location or the media context.

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff