Trenton Crawford is a free research tool developed by the IAB and Google, that graphically displays how online consumer behavior influences offline purchasing decisions and vice versa. Consumer Barometer also shows how search engines influences buying behavior. Data can be sliced in multiple dimensions (topic, product, country, audience, etc) and displayed dynamically within the tool.


The tool is particularly useful for campaign planning. If you understand purchase behavior you can plan your website and campaign strategy accordingly.

Here are four areas that the Consumer Barometer tool explores.

1.  How consumers research and purchase products: online and offline

This feature allows users to hone in on purchase behavior based on products/services or industry, and specific to country, data that can invaluably inform campaign planning.

For example, if you’re a traditional brick and mortar business selling CDs and DVDs in the UK, after a minute worth of research you can learn that 60% of women purchased CDs and DVDs offline in retail stores.  41% of these women however, conducted research online prior to their offline purchase. 4% used a mobile phone to conduct their research.

Sounds like a good case to make for creating a music review blog, catered to women and designed to drive offline retail sales.

2. How search engines influence purchase decisions

A straightforward but powerful feature that demonstrates what percentage of consumers used search engines to inform their purchase decisions, across product/service or industry and by country. This feature will help build a case for adding search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) into your marketing mix during your campaign planning.

In the example below, 48% of consumers who purchased computer software in Canada used a search engine for researching their decision. 41% of purchases were completed online and 59% were completed offline.

3. How consumers access the Internet

How does your target market access the Internet? This is a fundamental question to ask when planning a digital campaign. For instance, do you create a microsite specifically for desktop devices? Do you create a mobile website, or just a mobile friendly website? Do you target smartphone users only with your display ad campaigns?

Consumer Barometer has a feature that will answer these questions, and can segment data by gender, age, education and Internet usage to drill-down to your specific demographic.

If I’m targeting women in the US and Canada, I can learn that, while 44% and 32% (respectively) access the Internet via smartphone, less than 5% of that demographic has an intent to purchase on their smartphone device.

From this you can draw many conclusions in your campaign planning, such as building a case for launching a mobile-specific branding campaign rather than a mobile direct response campaign.

4. How purchase behavior differs across countries

Perhaps you’re launching a multi-national campaign and you want to create a specific media plan for each country. This feature of Consumer Barometer will let you compare purchase behavior across two countries, segmented by online medium and device (e.g. search engines, mobile phones).

Let’s say you’re an international shoe company selling foot ware and targeting Australia and Canada. Using this feature you’ll discover that roughly 25% of shoe buyers from each country will research foot ware online.  11% of Australians versus 3% of Canadians will actually purchase online. 11% is still a substantial share of the market, so it probably makes sense to deploy a direct response campaign promoting your ecommerce site to Australian shoe buyers.

Conversely, you’d be wise to deploy a brand awareness campaign in Canada to drive business to your physical retail locations.

As well as the four different features listed above, Consumer Barometer offers a lot of reporting dimensions to build tailored graphs and data maps based on your industry, country and audience.

Here are a few examples of custom queries you can run:

  • What percentage of educated shoppers purchase online? (31%.)
  • What percentage of North American auto parts purchasers under the age of 40 did their research online? (27%.)

Where does Consumer Barometer get this data?

The data from Consumer Barometer is derived from two different sources; the Consumer Barometer study and the Enumeration study.

The Consumer Barometer study was an online questionnaire distributed worldwide to a min sample size of 2,500 respondents in each country.  The study was conducted from Jan to May 2012.

The Enumeration study was a telephone and face-to-face questionnaire with a min sample size of 1,000 for each country.  A list of participating countries is available here.

The study was conducted from Feb to March 2012.

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