The superficiality of what we search

Recently, I saw a query in a LinkedIn group asking “what are 2 powerful marketing phrases/words that sell?”. What made me curious was not the answers but the nature of the question, the keyword being “what”. 

Internet happens to be the default place where people go for information gathering. The age old principle of information gathering is asking the Five Ws and one H - Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Getting the most popular response - Wisdom of crowd, or Conformity to existing belief is the solution (information) that we subconsciously look for is what we ultimately click on as part of search results.

Did a quick search on the popular Ws on Google trends for the past decade, and something interesting but on expected lines turned out. Below is the image of the same:

Looking at the popularity of search by ‘what’ clearly indicates that a lot of things are unknown to lot of people. It also indicates that most people are superficial in terms of what they search for. Search phrases with who also can be clubbed to knowing the unknown as the typical search phrase would be Who is… or Who was…The When and Where are time-space biased. I feel that most of these searches would be fuelled through mobile devices. And the least popular is the why aspect… we are not curious enough to know the purpose or genesis of any action, event, or even experiences.

Some random insights of what I’ve learnt from this exercise..

  • Humans were and are explorers. As primates it was about discovery of new places & experiences.. Now it is about information.
  • We haven't changed much in our behaviour since the time we were primates. Example: we would, basis trail and error, learnt what to eat, where to find them, and when to find them.. the why was never in picture… Same is the case today too.
  • We notch the timeline of our lives based on experience - (the when and where)
  • Most of us are happy to lead a superficial life - Don’t ask me why (get the pun??)
  • and lastly and most importantly, from a strategic content creation perspective - by using what, you cater to more people (least common denominator) & using why, you cater to greatest common divisor…(few but wants to be through in the topic of choice)

Please leave your comments on ‘what you regularly search for’…and more importantly, why? 




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