Searcher Behavior Research Update

Aug 20, 2007 - 8:25 pm 0 by

Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2007 Search Track: Searcher Behavior Research Update

Speakers: (Moderator) Gord Hotchkiss, President & CEO, Enquiro Search Solutions James M. Lambert, SVP, comScore Networks Pavan Lee, Microsoft Oliver Deighton, Google Stuart McKelvey, President & CEO, TMP Directional Marketing

First Speaker: Pavan Lee, "Searcher Moms"

Research Overview: Why are we interested in this topic? As you know, Soccer Moms are a very important segment to marketers because they are the key decision makers in buying decisions for cars, vacations, clothes, etc.

What we tried to do is measure internet usage and media consumption, and explore their search engine usage with regards to cpc.

We have four key findings. Moms are an Internet and Search savvy audience with significant buying power and need for information of products and services. They are heavy media consumers, using the Internet at least an hour a day as well as heavily consuming other forms of media.

In terms of SE usage, Moms are very experienced searchers and consider search engines the most efficient way to find information. They are also very search engine loyal. If they cannot find what they're looking for, they are more likely to modify their search terms or search through multiple pages of results to find information than change search engines.

Two thirds of moms use the search engines to gather information about products prior to making major purchases. For this reason, search should be included in overall marketing strategies when Soccer Moms are considered a target demographic.

80% of the moms searched for at least one of the CPG categories. What they are looking for is: comparing prices, finding store locations and gathering additional information prior to purchase.

90% of moms consider search useful in online purchases and 80% consider search useful in offline purchases.

So, clearly, search plays an important role in influencing the purchasing patterns in a highly desirable and influential demographic.

Second Speaker: James Lambert, "A Preview of the Digital Shelf -- The opportunity for search in packaged goods"

When you talk to a CPG (consumer packaged goods) company, help them understand search by helping them understand the motivation behind the consumer's behavior.

Most CPG's are focusing primarily on consumers with an immediate need (I stained my carpet), but they're missing out on reaching people in specific life stages (new house/new baby), and people with specific long term situations (I suffer from allergies).

In sizing the search marketing opportunity, we find there are 143.6M adults in the US Internet population with a 12% monthly site category penetration. When looking at the major categories, Food gets 93.7MM monthly unique visitors. Baby products receives about 36MM.

Next, another common misconception among CPG companies is that consumers "want coupons", when in actuality, they're looking to simply get more information about the products, find where they can buy the products, etc. Searching for a deal tends to be a non-searcher behavior.

The other interesting point is how this links to other media. These consumers consume all types of media and are heavy users of them all across the board; higher than that of non-search users.

Third Speaker: Oliver Deighton, "The Brand Lift of Search"

We took people over the age of 25 who were planning to buy a car in the next 6 months. We asked them to put themselves in a situation where they're interested in a fuel efficient cars. The users did the search and then were exposed to a SERP. We then broke them into 5 groups. The total testing group was 2700 users. We also took 100 additional people from the same demographic group off the street and exposed them to the same SERPs and did an eye tracking study.

We found a 2.2x lift in aided brand recall when the brand is in the top sponsored AND the top organic results. (Conclusion: Presence matters)

A 16% point increase in brand association when brand is in top sponsored and top organic results. (Conclusion: Not only are you gaining market share by having top paid and top organic results, you're taking market share from the other brands)

When a brand is in top sponsored and top organic results, purchase consideration increases 8% points.

Consumers are less likely to consider purchasing a brand that doesn't appear on the search results page. Brands not on the SERPs drop 16% in terms of how often their brand is mentioned when consumings list which brands they'll consider purchasing.

Even in branded queries, presence in top sponsored and top organic listings boosts purchase intent by 7% points.

Eye tracking reveals consumer insights

When you look at where the eye is going on the page relative to the ads, there is a lot more fixation on the headlines and the urls.

- Your investment in your brand, in general and across all media, benefits search. - Advertise on unbranded and branded keywords. - Tailor your ad to prospects, those with no established brand affinity.

Fourth Speaker: Stuart McKelvey, "The Usage and Value of Online and Offline Local Search Sources"

Our objective is to understand the use and value of online and offline local search sources such as internet YP, print YP directory assistance, mobile, newspaper and search engines.

We asked "What is your primary source of local business information?" Respondents indicated more than a third still rely heavily on a print YP.

In terms of site selection, respondents use Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), local search sites, and general search sites (Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN, etc).

Local searchers are less likely to have a specific business name in mind than IYP users. IYP searchers are more likely to be searching for services, where general searchers are more likely to be searching for a product.

We asked what was the primary factor in selecting a business to contact, and the response indicated that business location was the largest factor and other users reviews was the least influencing factor.

The most common activities resulting from the online search were in-store visits and contacting the business via telephone.

The majority of respondents (61%) went on to make a purchase at a local store, most often by visiting the store and making an in-person purchase.

Additionally, nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) searchers believe that businesses that are listed at the top of the search results paid to be there.

Over 60% of these searchers believe that the top results are the most relevant to their search.

30% of consumers stated that they used the Internet for researching -- not buying.

In addition, 2 out of 10 consumers cited the fact that they preferred to speak with people offline before buying online.

In summary: - Location, location, location. It's an offline world. - "General" search engine users are only half of the online local search population. - When combining online and offline local search, the search engines are primary source to only 30% of the panel. - "Shopping" & "Direction" specific vs. non-specific - Online drives significant walk in and phone traffic - Printed Yellow Pages surprisingly valuable to the survey respondents.

Fifth Speaker: Gord Hotchkiss, "Eye Tracking"

How do you do eye tracking on what the SERP may look like for personalized results?

Problem One: Predicting the Future - Google Universal Search results today - Ask 3D results today - Our guess as to what personalization will look like on a Google in 12 months - Our guess as to what Google might look like in 3 years. (2010)

Problem Two: Testing the Future - Personalization for Google: 2008 and Google: 2010 - Signed out panel into a test Google account - Gave them a scenario (see if the iPhone is for you) and let them have a free session - Went through search and web history and personalization

Golden Triangle vs Chunking When we introduced a universal search onto the page, rather than seeig the traditional golden triangle, the user divided the page up into chunks to be scanned later. It's more of an E shape. The users first went to the upper left, but then went quickly to the picture, then read the listing immediately adjacent to the image. The premise there being that the "special" presentation of that listing must have some special about result.

Graphics "Fencing" Scanning When a graphic has borders or bounds, users visually extend the lines of the box and divides the page with a "fence" that the user does not scan beyond. When the image is set lower on the page, the user scans more of the page. Higher on the page, less of the page is scanned.


- The distance radius of the businesses most searched for in local search? 1-20 miles. Most users prefer to buy w/in 40 miles of their home.

- Users scan multi-column listings as quickly as they scan linear listings.


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