News & Views

Opinion / Generation Curious

by Contagious Contributor
Dan White, managing director at Kantar Millward Brown, on how to turn exploration into purchase

Consumers’ tolerance for advertising may be low – more than half of under-50s skip digital ads when possible, according to AdReaction 2017 – but they have a voracious appetite for information. People increasingly use digital and mobile channels to seek advice and inspiration on topics of interest, and research products before buying.

Research by Kantar Millward Brown and Blippar into today’s information seekers – or ‘Generation Curious’ – has uncovered four archetypes, which describe the modes and mindsets of exploratory behaviour. By fully understanding these, marketers can drive purchase by designing campaigns around consumers’ interest and intent. This requires a shift from a typical audience-based approach to one that targets behaviour at specific points in the purchase pathway.


Answer seekers just want quick answers; 68% spend 10 minutes or less researching. Utilising all Google ad extensions will get them to the right content fast, linking to relevant information such as consumer ratings, availability or click to call. Using Twitter keyword targeting to leverage topical issues is a good way to increase brand visibility, as Specsavers did with its timely Oscars tweet (Not getting the Best Picture? #shouldve #Oscars). In future, marketers will need to embrace the Internet of Things, as this audience will turn to whatever device or object can provide an immediate response.

Focused shoppers purchase on impulse, prioritise simplicity and respond well to digital marketing. Online ads are 44% more effective in triggering purchase, while this audience is 44% more likely to buy through their smartphone. Dynamic, retargeted display advertising will work well. Location-based communication can be used to deliver a timely prompt to increase chances of conversion in physical environments. Brands should shorten the ordering, paying and delivery processes – enabling checkout on mobile with Apple Pay or Facebook Login, or taking convenience to the next level with Amazon Dash or voice-command devices.

Explorers are addicted to discovery; 58% spend at least half an hour researching, mostly on topics beyond what initially piqued their interest. If they find something engaging they’ll take the time to appreciate it, so brands should look to entertain or provide something useful, for example with interactive out-of-home ads. Native advertising that incorporates the brand into onpage content – whether through video, advertorial or sponsored social posts – is likely to work well.

Careful buyers conduct thorough research, exploring 70% more than the average person. They want lots of input, including product information, ratings and peer-to-peer opinion, and may need a call to action before committing to purchase; and they’re three times more likely to be triggered by online images or videos. They value content that provides inspiration and advice around a topic. Unilever for example created the All Things Hair YouTube channel, filled with tutorials from vloggers, to enhance its credibility in the haircare space. This buyer will have questions, so 24/7 social teams are vital.

By mastering these mindsets, marketers can give their brand a useful or inspiring role in every exploration journey, leveraging all channels. Those that get it right will drive purchase by making themselves highly relevant, and creating ads and other content that people simply don’t feel the need to block.