Many purchases are bought on impulse, and according to a recent survey, over two thirds of people who did impulse buy, did so because they were physically standing in a store.

It’s a well-known marketing ploy; place inexpensive items near the checkout and people will tend to buy them. And it’s easy to see why. Standing in line, nothing to do but wait until the cashier gets to you, your brain is already in “buying mode”… what’s one little bar of chocolate or magazine in the grand scheme of things?

The point is, many people don’t realise they want something until they see it, but how do you recreate this online?

Finding your audience

Before social media, people only bought things online after specifically searching for them. Now it’s different. People can spend hours a day on the net, not looking for anything in particular, but just scrolling from one post to the next.

This is where targeted advertising comes in.

Google’s Custom Affinity Audiences allows you to target people based on behaviours. Remember, every click someone makes is recorded, so Google knows which websites people have been to (especially handy if they’re looking at competitors’ sites), which apps they have on their phone, the places they’ve visited, which cafés they eat at, and the gyms they work out at.

Taking all this knowledge, Google can make a pretty accurate profile of a person, and use this to target ads in their direction.

An example of how it works

Let’s just say you want to sell high-end trail running shoes to middle aged guys who have an unhealthy addiction to endurance events.

You can use Custom Affinity Audiences to zero in on the demographics of people who might buy those shoes.

So your Custom Affinity Audience may look like this:

Remember, this group of people won’t necessarily be actively searching for a new pair of running shoes, but when they see an ad for them, they are more likely to buy than just a random internet user.

This is the online version of impulse buying, and it’s a growing market.

Reach the people interested, not just the people searching

If, at this very moment, ten people are Googling “how to make choc-chip ice-cream” that doesn’t mean there are only ten people in the world who like choc-chip ice-cream.

The trick is to show all the choc-chip ice-cream lovers out there that you make the best version of it, and you’re selling it online right now.

There are more people thinking about their likes, hobbies and interests than are actually searching for something to buy, so target those guys and give them the option to buy, rather than waiting for them to come to you.

Ark Advance can help you set up and define your Custom Affinity Audiences, implementing them, and track your conversion rate.

And who doesn’t love chocolate-chip ice-cream?

About a year and a half ago, Google launched its rival to the Amazon Echo, a smart speaker called Google Home.

As usual, New Zealand has been invited late to the party, and officially Google Home hasn’t been released here – but it is available in Australia.

What is Google Home?

Google Home is a voice-activated smart assistant which uses AI and claims to have been designed to make your life easier.

It allows users to speak voice commands to a personal assistant, allowing people to play music, record TV shows, or hear the latest news headlines.

By saying “Ok Google” to activate it, users can then ask questions, or make requests, making it basically a verbal version of the Google search engine. It also doubles as a calculator, dictionary, or translator.

Testing it out at home

I recently added Google Home to our family environment and was surprised to see how far Artificial Intelligence has come in such a short time, particularly the voice-recognition technology.

First of all, the simplicity is incredible. From opening the box to Google accepting my commands and queries took less than 20 minutes.

I started using it every morning by saying “OK Google, Good Morning”. With this simple prompt, it tells me:

And it didn’t take long for everyone else to start getting the hang of it.

My wife likes to listen to the radio, but our house has poor reception. In the past she has struggled with Sonos being played through her phone, but now with Google home she simply asks it to play Radio Live and it does. She’s impressed enough to call it “pure genius”.

We also use it as a family. The weekly shopping list is saved on all our phones, and any item we remember we need throughout the week, we simply tell Google to add it to the list. The communal shopping list is updated on all our devices, and we can all see it.

From asking for phone numbers of companies, through to playing music by our favourite artists, Google Home has changed the way we live.

What’s the future hold?

What stands out for me with this new technology is how quickly it has progressed.

AI is moving at a striking pace, and instead of this voice command technology being 10 years away, it’s suddenly more likely to be only 3-5 years from becoming commonplace.

Instead of searching for a plumber online, simply asking out loud will get you the nearest one. How is this going to affect the way we search for things? Will these smart speakers make everything we know about SEO obsolete?

Only time will tell what changes are in the pipeline, but you can rest assured that Ark Advance is at the forefront of the curve when it comes to this new technology.