Role of Search in the Buying Cycle
Yahoo! has done a bunch of pioneering work and research on how search and paid search influence consumer purchase behavior. I have for months intended to write more about this (and will I promise 🙂 ). Now SEM firm 360i has done some extensive and interesting work on tracking consumer behavior and the relationship of branded and non-branded search terms and conversion rates.
One of the takeaways from the report is that it takes multiple clicks to convert a large percentage of consumers. This is consistent with comScore research for Google this past holiday season that showed an average of 65 searches across categories before transactions were actually consummated.
The findings are in the context of e-commerce and the report doesn’t get into offline/local transactions, but the user behavior is probably quite similar except the “conversion” is local. Yahoo’s work gets into the offline implications of online consumer behavior quite extensively. And remember, e-commerce is only about 3% of US retail.
Chris Sherman has a write-up of the research here. And you can read the press release here.
Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.