Google just launched a new campaign designed to sell more Adwords advertisements. The campaign is called “Zero Moment of Truth” and can be found with all manner of fancy videos and soundbites at http://google-zmot.appspot.com/.
The basic pitch is that customers for nearly anything—from $1.00 toothbrushes to $1 million homes—search for product information, customer reviews, and other discussions before buying. Google says that you should buy Adwords to capture this “Zero Moment of Truth.”
Google misses the point. Google wants people to buy more advertisements that target customers before they have decided to purchase a product. Google thinks the way to “win” the “Zero Moment of Truth” is to bombard customers with advertisements as soon as they might be interested (no surprise here, given that Google’s revenue comes from advertising). But Google’s focus is too narrow.
It’s not about 150-character advertisements; it’s about the entire online image of your product, service, brand, or self. Even Google’s own ad sales materials admit that customers are looking for information from reviews, discussions, and other sites. Potential customers (or business partners or employers) will skim the entire first page of search results, trying to find context about the product or service they are considering buying. Negative reviews will scare some consumers away from purchasing at all (or hiring you, or doing business with you, or whatever else). A 150-character Adword advertisement will not overcome negative search results, no matter how clever that advertisement may be.
In short, Google’s focus on the “Zero Moment of Truth” is proof that Google understands the power of online reputation management. There is a crucial moment when consumers search the Internet to decide of they want to buy a product or service at all (or if they want to hire or do business with you). If you want to succeed, you need to capture that moment by carefully shaping your search results to reflect the most positive image possible. Maybe Adwords advertisements will help, but they are absolutely no substitute for good search results.
Want help capturing your customers’ “zero moment of truth?” Check out the advice for small businesses in Wild West 2.0. Want professional help and dedicated advice? Call the experts at Reputation.com.