“When I’m looking for something, I just Google it.”

That’s a phrase that seems obvious because it matches our personal experiences.

With 8.5 billion Google searches each day, yours are at least 4 or 5 of them.

But it wasn’t the first thing you did.

Extra awesome info in the video – don’t miss it!

In his book “How Customers Think,” Dr. Gerald Zaltman of Harvard says 95% of purchase decisions are made subconsciously. That odd quirk of our brains means that we’ve already decided… before we decided.

If that’s tough to understand, think of this: You’re on a family trip. Kids are exhausted. Spouse is barking orders.

As you drive past restaurants, your options are:

  • Findley’s Restaurant
  • Blotto’s Burgers
  • Applebee’s
  • Tiny’s Taco Truck

Those other places are likely fine, and Applebee’s is nothing special. But you’re exhausted, stressed, and you don’t have the energy to make decisions. 8 times out of 10, you’re picking Applebee’s.

You recognize the name, you know what to expect, and your risk is low.

Brains want to make decisions quickly. The more processing power your brain uses, the less effective it can be doing other things.

The business that comes to mind first, is the one that tends to get chosen disproportionately more often.

And, yes, it happens in search, too. In their study The Secret Life of Search, analysts at Red C Marketing found “most Google searches…resulted in a familiar, trusted, credible brand being chosen for the first click. […] It’s clear that raising awareness and trust in your brand is an essential part of getting clicks.”

The percentage wasn’t insignificant. A full 82% chose the brand they were familiar with as the first choice. This is consistent regardless of the business category.

You can empty your bank account and give it all to Google, and the click is still going to the known brand 8 out of 10 times.

Brands like SoFi, AirBNB, 4Imprint, Doordash, and Booking.com are ones you’ve seen advertised all over. The thing they all have in common is that they don’t exist outside the internet. They are online companies for an online world accessed only online. Yet the ads you see are not on Google. They’re someplace else.

These brands, smartly, are getting into your brain before you need them.

This is the world you want to own. The part of the brain that is filing information away for a future day, ready to jump into action when the need arises.

This is the real “first” thing you do. Google? It’s still in the top 10…but it will never be number one.