What's the True Meaning of "Best"

Anyone who has ever done any road-traveling here in the U.S. has surely seen multiple signs for businesses that claim to have the "world's best" coffee, or the "nation's best" doughnuts, or the "best burgers" in the state ... you get the picture. So how can one be confident that what they would get by ordering from one of these establishments that boasts of having the "best" of anything is really, truly the absolute "best?"

  • Mobile searches for "best" have grown over 80% over the past two years 1
  • Mobile searches for things like "best face lotion" or "best moisturizer" have grown over 115% in the last two years 2
  • Mobile searches for "best salt" has grown by 375% over the last two years 3

It's human nature to always desire the best of whatever it is that the consumer is looking for. The issue is that "the best" is not an objective absolute. Besides, finding "the best" doesn't necessarily mean that you're finding the best thing on the planet ... it simply means that you're finding the best thing for your wants and needs.

When asked how online research has changed the "quest for best," Sara Kleinberg, Google's Head of Ads Research and Insights said, "With so many options and so much information online, consumers increasingly can and have to make decisions based on differences beyond quality, price, and basic features. The deciding factor is often personal criteria for that product and how it solves their individual needs."

So, finding the best is not an exact science, by any means. In fact, what ranks as the best for one, may fall to the bottom of the rankings for another. Someone searching for "best holiday decorations" is likely looking for something different than someone looking for "best Chanukka decorations."

When asked why they type in "the best" when searching, and what they expect to find, the consumers interviewed said that it's a big time saver for them, as what they get from the search is a curated list of fewer options or rankings, or reviews from customers and experts, alike. People also like to read the opinions of real people just like them. Searching and researching the answers to questions they may have about a product or service they are shopping for offers them a higher degree of confidence about their purchases.

So, what can marketers do to take advantage of these searches and the discoveries they lead to? Advertisers need to realize that the more specific a search is, the more of a clear intent that exists by the consumer. For instance, it's one thing to search for the best guitars; it's another thing to search for the best electric guitar for a left-handed player. The more specific of a description, the more imminent a sale is going to be. In fact, here at Genius Monkey, these key search phrases are what we use to leverage our programmatic targeting.

It's imperative for marketers that their content and search copy communicates just how your product or service meets the needs of the searcher. Also imperative is that you show real-life situations and reviews in which your product is featured, and provide any customer support that is needed in the search. In other words, always be present for the consumer--on all devices, at all times.

Source: 1, 2, 3 Google Data, U.S., Top 500 "best" search terms, Jan.-June 2015 vs. Jan.-June 2017.

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