How do You Search for Experiences?

Customer Experience

At first blush, the shifts in marketing spending seem to favor the direct response approach. After all, the very first thing we do when we are thinking about something we want, or have seen is to power up our laptop, or smartphone/tablet, and look for it. 

Google continues to benefit from this reflex because it is basically the only game in town#. In aggregate, marketers are spending almost $50 billion in search and is still the largest part of digital advertising vs. $34 billion for display.

Global media ad spend per personDigital is still about 5.7 percent of the total ad spend, however, which is projected to be $545.4 billion this year with US advertisers footing the largest bill per person — about $565.

At $5.2 billion combined between search and display and $2.9 billion combined between PC and mobile respectively, mobile and social are showing the most growth within digital#. You can see why they would be, given that mobility and social sharing of information are now becoming more mainstream types of behaviors.

In the US, mobile represents a 33.8 slice of the digital ad spending, while it is only an average of 21.2 percent in Western Europe, for example.

54 percent CAGR in social media advertising revenue CAGR between the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2014.

Mobile and social are more about where we are and with whom we are connecting than what we are doing — and the line between experiential and utilitarian is a moving one, which means the opportunity for many brands is greater than targeting.

That is good for many reasons, the most important being that we often do not know exactly what we are looking for and yet have a job to get done. Increasingly, we enroll brands that are making choices and doing something# for that job. 

This opportunity to shape choices by increasing brand awareness and thus affinity is the reason why the vast majority of advertising spend is not direct response. When Coca-Cola unveiled the concept of liquid content, they were thinking beyond media to cultural fluency.   

With the pace of technology and platform changes, consumers are looking more and more like moving targets and often an answer looks less like a dashboard and more like an experience worth having — marketers have their work cut out for them. 


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.