The online marketing decision path — some data

google think insights

This weekend, I’ve been discovering some intriguing frontiers in the massive Google experience. After discovering Ingress, an artificial reality mobile game  with eerie science-fiction (fear) overtures, I headed out with our family dog to the first “portal” — an obscure sign at the local dog walking park (which conveniently for our family, is in a conservation area just beyond our backyard fence.)  Then I learned about a massive multi-stage annual coding competition, for which the final 26 contestants receive an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles, where the winner receives $15,000 and (probably) a job offer at Google.

These discoveries might be intellectually interesting, but the thing that caught me from a marketing perspective is this resource through Google Think Insights, gathering webmaster channel data to determine the likely influencing/decision points for different types of online services, in different markets.

It isn’t so finely tuned that you can use it for benchmarking within the AEC community directly, and it naturally is biased in favour of data where online activities lead to purchase decisions, but there are still interesting implications on the point and time-frame in decision-making, that may influence your expectations and your marketing mix/purchase decisions.

Take, for example, a look at the US-Biz Category:

US Biz Channels


The chart indicates that the further to the right, the closer the action/inquiry will lead to an actual sale. (The other inputs are important, but much more indirect, and would indicate they are of lesser immediate relevance in achieving marketing to sales conversion.  This suggests that display click (banner type ads) don’t really get much more than awareness — while direct sales/inquiries tops the list (not totally surprising.

The data however also shows interesting national variations. Compare the results from the U.S. to Canada, for example.


You can see here that email is much less effective in encouraging an immediate purchase decision in Canada than the U.S.  In both countries, organic search ranks highly, though paid search is less effective in Canada.

Other charts give you some insights about time-to-decision and other factors. These would be more valuable for us if they were highly segmented within specific industries/sectors. As well, I doubt anyone decides to spend a few million (or even a few hundred thousand dollars) on any AEC project decision primarily because of an online search or advertising/marketing response.

Nevertheless they show some of the complexities and challenges in marketing. There are many paths to the final destination, and the paths diverge depending on industry, nation, and more. Be ready to test your assumptions.

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