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How to Leverage Consumer Intent & UX

This article is authored by Chris Philp, VP, Lead, SEO and Karen Kysar, Senior Director CX Strategy. 


Advertising campaigns are not the only ways for brands to get consumers’ attention. Guiding them when they search for information, helping them to learn more about a topic, and assisting them in accomplishing what they want are powerful means for brands to capture their interest and to influence what happens next.


To design valuable, consumer-centric experiences that will be noticed by their audiences, marketers should focus on three priorities: correctly interpreting intent, solving users’ problems and delivering on expectations.


Understand intent

Correctly interpreting intent is not just about observing consumers’ search activities and the various tasks they perform throughout the day, but also about understanding their reasons and the context around them.

First-party data is a good place to start. For instance, website analytics inform about the kind of audiences you attract, CRM data show who buys your products, and customer support data cast light on consumers’ struggles.

To complement these data sources, ad hoc surveys can capture consumers’ attitudes, motivations and triggers. For example, running a large-scale quantitative survey of first-time moms helps understand what their everyday looks like, where they are seeking advice, and how they handle caregiving issues. To give voice to that data, small-scale user studies enable you to hear directly from first-time moms (e.g., the types of searches they perform). As privacy regulations give consumers more control about how their data is used, we anticipate that consumer surveys will see renewed interest from brands.

By encompassing what audiences express and how they interact with your brand, this approach makes it possible to truly know audiences as people. You can then develop actionable portraits rooted in data which help identify areas where your brand is well positioned to win with content and develop content roadmaps that truly address your audience needs.


Solve a problem

To help consumers solve a problem, start with a shift in focus from the brand to the consumer. It is about adapting the brand response to the consumer moment, and recognising that all these moments are not necessarily about purchasing a product. For instance, Google has identified four pivotal micro-moments: I want to know, I want to go, I want to do, I want to buy.

When first-time moms look to soothe their crying infants, they will often turn to search engines. The keywords they use carry a lot of intent and emotion. A search for “swaddle” may be about looking for a product, while a search for “swaddling” may be about looking for information on whether it is safe. In both cases, these keywords are proxies for the underlying problem: how to get a baby to sleep through the night.

In the search engine result pages, results for the “swaddle” query are centred around products – which only partially addresses the bigger problem at play – and there is a lot of advertising competition. Conversely, the query “how to get a baby to sleep through the night” returns the “Interesting finds” component, which provides users the option to land on a content page. For brands, it is an opportunity to demonstrate they understand people’s intent and context, and to provide a valuable solution rather than focusing solely on the product and transaction. From telecom companies developing guides around improving Wi-Fi reception to water treatment companies educating consumers about contamination of water, this approach using value as the key factor to capture attention is applicable across all industries.

By understanding intent and assessing the search engine results page and content types delivered, brands can much better assess not only the problem, but the best suited format for delivery, too - whether that is a video, an article, an image or other.


Deliver on expectations

Delivering on expectations means ensuring that you are not only showing up when people search, but also that they can convert easily once they land on your website. This requires acting simultaneously in two dimensions: the user experience (UX) and the technical side.

There is an important difference between a website that looks clean and a website that is truly user friendly. Analytics can help you detect the most problematic bottlenecks of your website. Then, user testing can help you understand the various reasons behind these bottlenecks, such as a frustrating product catalogue organisation, or an impractical checkout. These insights can help you address the most urgent pain points through A/B testing, and ultimately improve your UX.

From a technical standpoint, there is a host of aspects to consider, starting with site speed. Site speed is fundamental in user experience, and has a strong influence on bounce rate and conversions. Marketers should regularly monitor their site speed, using online tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights. Additionally, UX plays an increasingly important role in search engine rankings. From May 2021, page experience signals (e.g., mobile friendliness) will be included in Google Search ranking. Simply put, UX is not only important for making the most of the attention of people who reach your website, but it also conditions your ability to get the attention of additional users through search results!



As one marketer out of two (48%) declares that not being consistent across every element of the consumer experience is a main challenge for long-term trust in their brand (iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey), strategic use of content presents a true opportunity to bring the experience together - from attention to transaction - by making the most of consumer intent and context through value.



This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated.

Download it now for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth.