March 25, 2004
Blog Entry

Must-read Research Results on Search & Online Shopping

SUMMARY: No summary available
Wow - I just spent the past 45 minutes blowing off email and phone calls to read a brand new report on the results of a focus group Enquiro Search Solutions conducted last month.

Although it focused on consumers, the data is highly relevant for b-to-b marketers as well. Some highlights:

- Landing pages and sites loaded with informational non-salesy materials such as specs, product photos, research, guides, reviews, etc., were much more likely to convert than overt sales messages.

- Aside from one demographic (mostly young men) who want to get shopping over with as quickly as possible, most searchers are extremely circuitous. They search multiple terms, click on multiple links, veer from retailer to review site to manufacturer and back again.

So, if you rely on simple measurement of view/click/convert to judge performance you are significantly underestimating your search campaign performance.

- If a brand comes up in a high organic position early in the process, it may result in a sale much later in the process, even if the searcher never clicks on that initial link. Search success is much more about building brand awareness than most of us guessed.

- Almost 80% of searchers skip over sponsored listings initially or entirely (especially Google users); only 21% will click to a second page of listings if they can't find what they want on the first; and if a review site such as shows up in the top organic listings it's almost "guaranteed a 50% plus clickthrough." Which means if your listing is nearby, you're close to invisible in the glare of the review site's glory.

- People won't cross over the "anonymity threshold" to give your site any information about themselves until they have absolutely no option and are ready to engage in a significant relationship with your site (such as purchasing or signing up as a sales prospect with the intention of putting your brand on a short-list.)

Combine that fact with the data that 72% of searches are conducted with the mindset of researching prior to making an engagement decision, and there's a problem with using search for direct response goals alone.

The vast majority of searchers hitting your landing page (or site) are not in a response mindset - are, indeed, highly resistant to the idea. It's the old asking someone to marry you on the first date dilemma.

So, how can your landing page still convert the 28% who are ready, while gaining mindshare and future purchases from the 72% who are not? Plus, how do you measure the latter's success?

That's the dilemma we all face.

Anyway, enough of me babbling on and on. You can check out the research results for yourself. The 30-page PDF is complimentary, but there's required registration (oh the irony):

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