How to use ZMOT to increase Conversions and Sales exponentially

Zero moment of truth or ZMOT is the term coined by Google’s Jim Lecinski in 2011.

ZMOT is the most powerful moment in a customer journey to purchase.

This is because ZMOT shapes the consumer’s purchase decision.

And if you fail to win your customers at ZMOT, you have already lost the sale.


There are four moments of truth for a product:

  1. Stimulus
  2. Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT
  3. First Moment of Truth or FMOT
  4. Second Moment of Truth or SMOT


Stimulus is the moment which occurs when the customer is first exposed to your brand via an ad or piece of content (blog, infographic, video, podcast etc).

All of your first interaction marketing channels are sources of stimulus.

The first interaction marketing channels are those channels which deliver first click conversions.

These are the channels which introduced your brand to the customers in their purchase journey.

You can determine these channels by going to ‘Assisted Conversion Report’ (under Conversion > Multi Channel Funnels in your Google Analytics account) and then clicking on the ‘First Interaction Analysis’ tab:


Google Analytics assign credit for conversions to those marketing channels which assisted in conversions in the last 30 to 90 days (the look back window).

So if a marketing channel assisted in conversion more than 90 days ago then Google Analytics will not give it the credit for conversion.

Because of this reason the first interaction marketing channels that you see in ‘Assisted Conversions’ report may not be the true first interaction channels.

Get the FREE E-Book (52 Pages)

There is always a possibility that some/many customers were first exposed to your brand more than 30 to 90 days ago.

You also can’t take any meaningful action on the basis of analysis of the first interaction marketing channels.

Therefore the first interaction analysis is lame.

It is not the best use of your time and resources.

Unless you are a brand new business whose top priority is getting exposure and building brand awareness, you should avoid spending your time and resources:

  • In doing first interaction analysis,
  • Assigning lot of credit to first touch points
  • Investing in stimulus sources.

Zero Moment of Truth (or ZMOT)

ZMOT is the moment which occurs after the customer has been exposed to your brand, but before a purchase is made.

It is the moment when the customer do research and make decision about buying your product.

Consider the following customer’s journey to purchase:

Step-1: Read a blog post

Step-2: View a display ad

Step-3: Read product reviews

Step-4: Visit a product comparison website

Step-5: Clicked on an organic search result

Step-6: Clicked on a paid search result

Step-7: Made a purchase

Here the customer is exposed to 6 different acquisition channels (blog post, display ad, product reviews, product comparison, organic search and paid search) before he made a purchase.

The ZMOT takes place at step 3 and step 4

The customer read product review and went to a product comparison site before making the purchase.

These two touches seems more valuable than the exposure to other channels (the blog post, display ad, organic listing and the PPC ad) as they play a very important role in shaping the customer’s  purchase decision.

Had the customer not been satisfied with the product reviews and pricing, he wouldn’t have made a purchase.

Consequently these touches should get more credit for conversion.

Not all the acquisition channels/touches are equally important in shaping the customer’s buying behavior.

That is why I developed Proportional Multi touch Attribution Model

How ZMOT occurs?


At ZMOT, customers go back and forth between various ZMOT sources.

ZMOT sources are various digital and non-digital channels where your customers go back and forth to make informed purchased decision.

Note: Google recognises only online decision making moments as ZMOT. But I think we can’t ignore offline decision making moments (like presence of physical stores, word of mouth, great PR etc) as in the real world, customers don’t choose offline marketing channels over online marketing channels and vice versa.

That is why I have included both digital and non-digital channels as ZMOT sources.

Following are the examples of ZMOT sources:

  1. Online search (include both paid and organic search)
  2. Word of mouth (non-digital channel)
  3. Comparison shopping websites (like, , Google shopping)
  4. Product review websites (,, etc)
  5. Coupons websites (like,,,
  6. Offers and special deals websites (like,, etc)
  7. Loyalty, rebate and cashback websites (like,,, etc)
  8. Social Shopping websites (like,, etc)
  9. Affiliate Websites
  10. Offline marketing channels (physical store, sales people, billboards, magazine ads, TV ads, radio ads, newspaper ads, brochures, leaflets etc)



Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and FacebookAttribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond

Get my best selling books on Attribution Modelling

  • Learn to implement attribution modelling in your organisation
  • Understand the customer purchase journey across devices
  • Determine the most effective marketing channels for investment

 Click book covers to find out more

The ZMOT sources your customers will actually use depend upon the following factors:

1. What they are planning to purchase (product/service, what type/nature)

2. What stage they are in the consideration process (looking for best deals, coupons, comparison shopping etc)

3. Where they are (i.e. the country they live in, current location: in the office, commuting, at home etc)

4. What devices they own and are currently using (laptop, desktop, smart phone, tablet, smart TV etc)

5. What is their comfort level (some people are more comfortable buying online, some are more comfortable buying offline)

6. Their buying behaviour (many people never make a purchase through smartphone or buy high price items online) 

84% of all shoppers use ZMOT sources in the path to purchase. ZMOT is a critical part of any shopper’s purchase journey.

Shoppers can range from using an average of 5.8 ZMOT sources when choosing a Restaurant to a high of 18.2 sources used by Automobile shoppers.

Source: Google Think Insight and

Why you need to win customers at ZMOT?

You need to win in order to reduce Checkout abandonment rate, gain trust of your customers and build brand retention.

Seven out of every 10 shoppers who added items to an online cart didn’t actually make the purchase. A lot of those shoppers went off to search for a better price, or maybe a coupon or a savings code.

So how can you keep from losing those customers — or having to win them back all over again?


It’s never been easier to walk out of the store

ZMOT shopping is comparison-shopping on steroids. Shoppers use smartphones to check competitors’ prices, look for coupons and deals, and measure shipping costs down to the penny. If they’re standing in the aisle at your store and they see a better deal, they’ll walk away.

Source: Google Think Insight and 

Now the billion pounds question.

How to win customers at ZMOT?

Build Strong Brand Loyalty

In a world full of low price items, better products and better deal it is very hard to compete.

You can always find someone selling your product/service at a lower price.

You can always find someone providing a better deal, a better offer or a better discount.

So you can’t compete on price alone.

You can’t compete on product features or offers alone.

Build great product and the customers will automatically come.

This is isn’t going to happen.

You need to make strong emotional bond with your customers so that they think of you at ZMOT.

You want your customers to buy emotionally and not rationally.

Think of why people buy Apple Products even when they are overpriced.

It is not because of its features.

It is because of the strong emotional bond and sense of self-worth, Apple has been able to create through its creative and effective advertising.

Creating user engagement is critical for building brand loyalty as user engagement leads to repeated visits and repeated visits leads to brand retention.

Related Post: Practical Tips to develop user engagement for e-commerce website

Do Remarketing

Remarketing is very effective in winning customers at ZMOT.

With remarketing, you can target people who have already shown interest in your product/service but have still not made a purchase because they forgot about you or your offer in an attempt to search for a better price/deal on the internet.

Remarketing is also very effective in targeting existing customers in order to build brand retention and loyalty.

Find your ZMOT Sources and be visible there

80% of success in winning the ZMOT lies in showing up at the right place and at the right time – Jim Lecinski

Following are few tips which can help you in being visible at the right place and at the right time:

1. Create a balanced portfolio of acquisition channels.
That means don’t rely just on organic search or paid search to acquire customers.

Diversify your traffic acquisition strategy and get traffic from different sources (organic search, paid search, display, email, affiliate marketing, referral etc)


2.Get your products listed on comparison shopping websites. All these websites can introduce or re-introduce your brand and offer to the customers.

3. Product reviews and ratings matter a lot at ZMOT. So provide good after sales service and encourage customers to leave reviews.

Users pay attention to reviews. Listings that averaged three or more stars in reviews took 41 out of 47 clicks. The volume of reviews matters. 29 of 47 clicks went to listings that had at least 4 reviews.


Keep a close eye on the reviews left by your customers.

Lot of bad reviews can easily destroy the possibility of any future sale.

That is why reputation management and brand monitoring are so important.

You need to maintain a positive brand image all the time to win at ZMOT.

4.Provide coupons, offers and special deals and get listed on the websites which deal with them.

78% of shoppers say that online coupons or promo codes will close a deal for them when they’re undecided.

61% of visitors to affiliate deal sites say they’re likely to switch brands if they find a better coupon. So if you’re not offering coupons, think twice.


5. Provide good user experience on all devices (desktops, tablets, smart phones). In the real world, people can go back and forth between various devices at ZMOT. So it is critical that your website provides good user experience at each stage of ZMOT. You also need to run marketing campaigns on multiple devices in order to increase brand retention and customer acquisition.

6. Use affiliate marketing to increase your reach exponentially. You can’t bid on every possible keyword in your niche. You can’t target every possible customer. But your affiliates together can. They can introduce your brand and your offer to a much wider market.

Finding ZMOT Sources through Google Analytics

If you manage a medium to large size e-commerce website, then there is always a high probability that your top assisting marketing channels are ZMOT sources.

You can determine your ZMOT sources by going to ‘Assisted Conversion Report’ (under Conversion > Multi Channel Funnels in your Google Analytics account) and then clicking on the ‘Referral’ link in the ‘basic channel grouping’ column:



Once you have determined your ZMOT sources, you then need to target them either by being listed there or through brand monitoring or by advertising there through display ads.

First Moment of Truth (or FMOT)

This moment occurs when a customer first encounters a product on your physical store’s shelf.

As an online marketer there is nothing much you can do to optimize the FMOT.

If you manage a purely online business then FMOT is not relevant for you.

Second Moment of Truth (or SMOT)

This moment occurs when the customer actually uses your product.

SMOT is the customer’s experience and satisfaction with your product.

You can win customers at SMOT by constantly providing great user experience and after sales service.

All the tricks of the typical conversion optimization program from landing page optimization, A/B testing to surveys can help you optimize SMOT.

It is critical that you win customers at SMOT in order to maintain brand loyalty, generate repeated sales and high customer life time value.

SMOT provides fuel to ZMOT as it helps in maintaining a positive brand image.

For very mature businesses (like Dell, Apple, Google etc), SMOT is in fact can be more important than ZMOT as often their top priority is to maintain their market share.

Other articles on Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics

  1. Touch Point Analysis in Google Analytics Attribution Modelling
  2. 8 Google Analytics Conversions Segments You Must Use
  3. Default and Custom Attribution Models in Google Analytics
  4. Attribution Model Comparison Tool in Google Analytics
  5. Which Attribution Model to use in Google Analytics?
  6. How to create Custom Attribution Model in Google Analytics

  1. How to do ROI Analysis in Google Analytics
  2. Google Analytics Attribution Modelling – Complete Guide
  3. Guide to Data Driven Attribution Model in Google Analytics
  4. Conversion Credit distribution for Attribution Models in Google Analytics
  5. You are doing Google Analytics all wrong. Here is why

  1. Marketing Mix Modelling or Attribution Modelling. Which one is for you?
  2. Introduction to Nonline Analytics – True Multi Channel Analytics
  3. How to set up Data driven attribution model in Google Analytics
  4. How to valuate Display Advertising through Attribution Modelling
  5. Understanding Shopping Carts for Analytics and Conversion Optimization

  1. View-through conversion tracking in Google Analytics
  2. Understanding Missing Touch Points in Attribution Modelling
  3. Guide to Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics
  4. How to explain attribution modelling to your clients
  5. 6 Keys to Digital Success in Attribution Modelling

  1. How to use ZMOT to increase Conversions and Sales exponentially
  2. How to Measure and Improve the Quality of SEO Traffic through Google Analytics
  3. How to analyse and report the true value of your SEO Campaign
  4. How to allocate Budgets in Multi Channel Marketing
  5. What You Should Know about Historical Data in Web Analytics

  1. Google Analytics Not Provided Keywords and how to unlock and analyze them
  2. Selecting the Best Attribution Model for Inbound Marketing
  3. Introduction to TV attribution in Google Analytics Attribution 360
  4. Cross Device Reports in Google Analytics via Google Signals
  5. Data-Driven Attribution Model Explorer in Google Analytics
  6. What is Attribution Modelling and why it is the ‘key’ to online business success?
  7. How Does Attribution Work?
  8. How is Attribution Modelling helpful for e-commerce and non-e-commerce websites?

How to use Digital Analytics to generate floods of new sales and customers.

(Even if you are completely new to Digital Analytics)

What You’ll Learn On This FREE Web Class!

#1 The number 1 reason why most marketers and business owners are not able to scale their advertising and maximise sales. 

#2 Why you won’t get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing Google Analytics. 

#3 The number 1 reason why conversion optimization is not working for your business. 

#4 How to advertise on any marketing platform for FREE with an unlimited budget.

#5 How to learn and master digital analytics in record time.


My best selling books on Digital Analytics and Conversion Optimization

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook
This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.

The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

error: Alert: Content is protected !!