Lowdown: ZMOT

Nick Hirst

Not quite a tool, and not quite brand-new, Google's 'Zero Moment Of Truth' (or ZMOT) has been around for a couple of years. It essentially describes part of the decision-making journey, referencing P&G's idea of the 'First Moment Of Truth' – the encounter with the product on shelf. (The 'Second Moment' is direct experience.) The idea is that, thanks to the transparency, accuracy and volume of online information, we effectively have a virtual moment of 'truth' before the real-life encounter.

According to Google's research, the majority of consumers in most categories are conducting active research online, and arriving at the FMOT better informed than ever. This makes ZMOT different from FMOT – it's about nudging people through an iterative, meandering process, rather than swinging a binary decision.

Research is nothing new but Google's contention is that the mobile, social web has made it ubiquitous, and prevalent in new categories. It's new behaviour alongside 'old': 49% of buyers talk to friends and family (as they have for centuries); 22% read comments following an article or opinion piece online.