Google – See, think, do, care – understanding your digital customers

Google regularly uses an approach called ‘See, think, do, care’ with its advertisers. Jeff Harte and Prerna Gupta explain how it works.

This approach can be achieved using paid advertising, content marketing or information from people who have signed up to your service or purchased in the past. Collecting information from customers at various times in the path-to purchase cycle will allow you to understand their behaviour and target them effectively. Breaking down audiences into the most relevant stage in their purchase cycle will help you deliver the right message at the right time.


In the ‘see’ phase, you’re talking to the largest addressable qualified audience, essentially anyone who is a potential user of your products or services. The goal is to build brand awareness and reach so that your business is top of mind when the customer reaches the consideration stage on their path to purchase. Effective influencing at this stage is dependent on a good understanding of your customers, their demographics and their online activity, even offline habits. At this stage, you will be interacting before they have considered a purchase, so be present outside of the purchase cycle through local sponsorship or prospecting advertising activity.


The ‘think’ stage is about influencing the consideration of your target audience. One step further than ‘see’, it involves identifying the largest addressable qualified audience who have some commercial intent. Signals of interest include people reading articles/blog posts related to your industry or watching industry-related videos. These are opportunities to drive consideration towards your brand and influence the audience. Relevant, concise and correct information/content will benefit your site. Depending on your business and target audience, there are many content methods that can be effective. These include blog posts with industry information or video tutorials, which can be the most engaging. You want to show up when someone does a “how do I…?” search. This content should be entertaining and easy to digest.


In ‘do’, the goal is to actually sell by acquiring efficient traffic and bringing a customer through the path-to-purchase to the point of conversion. Identify the largest addressable audience with loads of commercial intent so that you impact the purchase decision at the right time. ‘Do’ is where a lot of business owners spend their time as their goals are often revenue-focused. It is easy to quantify “I spent x and got y in return”. However, neglecting other clusters will only serve to make ‘do’ activity less efficient. It is essential to use the ‘see’ and ‘think’ phases prior to the ‘do’ phase to ensure effective targeting. Use pay per click advertising on commercial terms to maintain ‘top of mind’ position during the most crucial stage of a potential customer’s path-to-purchase.


Once customers have made two or more commercial transactions, you will want to move into ‘care’ mode, focusing on building customer loyalty and re-engaging with users who have purchased in the past. Retention of customers at this point is paramount. If analysis demonstrates customers are buying similar products you may wish to implement a loyalty system or reward programme. Alternatively, if your business is focusing on a higher value item/service that requires greater consideration, it is recommended to offer a higher level of customer service. These methods can increase brand equity, awareness and word of mouth.
Measurement It is important to test, measure and iterate based on the reaction to your messages, but it’s even more important to do this correctly and tailor the analysis to the target audience. Measuring ‘see’ activity based on ‘do’ metrics, such as site visits, will always make ‘see’ look bad. In assessing ‘see’ activity, tailor your measurement and look towards metrics such as brand awareness.

This framework outlined here will enable you to segment your customers into a life cycle stage and interact with them in a way that makes sense for the level of relationship that has been built. Stages aren’t exclusive of one another and there will be times where the same action can be taken in two stages.

Jeff Harte and Prerna Gupta work at Google as Sales Account Managers for Home & Garden advertisers. For any members that have questions or comments for Google, they have kindly set up a dedicated email address for Hardware Association Ireland, it is