How Search Engines Show You the Money.
Do Search Engines Drive Internet and Offline sales?
According to a recent article by Jason Miller, a reporter for
Web Pro News “MSN searchers were 48% more likely to buy online
than the average Internet user. His info was based on a report
from the month of June by comScore Networks, Inc. The report
also indicated that “Google users are 42% more likely” to buy
than the average Internet users.
On the flip side of this good news was the lackluster ecommerce
involvement of AOL users, who were only 3% more likely to make a
purchase than the average Internet user. This is significant to
know because search engine users have been traditional thought
of as better potential customers than other types of Internet
traffic. Search engine users are proactively looking for
information with specifically targeted search terms, and
therefore are considered by many marketers as target direct
response driven prospects.
One theory is the reason MSN searchers may be more likely to buy
is that the majority of them are women (who many times make more
buying decisions for their families), while the majority of
Google users are men at 51%.
This theory doesn’t really hold up because AOL subscribers are
52% women, but who tend “NOT” to make many more purchases than
the average Internet user. Perhaps MSN users are slightly more
upscale than Google, Yahoo! or AOL users.
The comScore study also reiterated what a lot of recent studies
have shown by other sources. It indicates the more sophisticated
and complex search terms are, the more likely the searchers
using those terms will be inclined to make an online purchase.
Another interesting revelation in this article is that many
searchers (85%) made their purchases offline 5 to 12 weeks after
the initial search session. Only 15% made a purchase during the
first search session (which by the way is very high because most
websites have a initial conversion rate of .5 – 1%).
It is because of these facts that search engine marketing is
debated as a direct marketing tool. Many would categorize search
engine marketing as more of a long term marketing strategy,
because their usage may precede a purchase by as much as 60 to
90 days. According to the comScore study most searches (70%)
started out as generic generalized terms and then became more
specific. Only about 20% of the search terms started out as
brand names like Sony, HP, or Dell.
It must be mentioned here however that closer to the buying
circle more brand names are used in searches.
A deeper look at the comScore study also showed that “search
played a role in roughly half of all online purchases.”
The comScore study was commissioned by DoubleClick because
comScore had a panel of 1.5 million U.S. Internet consumers.
In is also interesting to note (in a different study) that
According to Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence
service, search engines contributed greatly to the record
traffic to shopping and classified sites last Dec. 11th, 2004 of
(9.73 percent). In other words search engines drove about 10% of
Holiday sales. The specific traffic drivers were Google (4.26
percent), Yahoo! (2.24 percent) and MSN 0.54.
According to the Hitwise research Google seems to drive retail
traffic of books, sports, fitness and music. Hitwise further
reveals “Yahoo! search is stronger in sending its shopping
referrals to: … video and games, automotive, and classifieds”.
MSN sends a higher share of its shopping referrals to Apparel &
Accessories, House & Garden, and Appliances & Electronics”.
Here are some other reasons to use search engine marketing…
The Top 7 Reasons Your Site should have a Search Engine
1. 47% of Internet traffic is driven from the search engines.
2. 91% of Internet sales are first researched on the search
3. Search engine traffic is the best free way to position your
business to target ideal sales leads and customers.
4. Search engine traffic is more targeted and receptive to your
products and services. This is the case because unlike
traditional advertising search engine traffic is initiated by
5. 20% of search engine queries are for local traffic. Twice as
many people use search engines to find local businesses as do
use the local yellow pages.
6. Search engines are the cornerstones of any Internet marketing
campaign (I don’t know any successful Internet marketer that
doesn’t have a search engine marketing component to their
7. Search engine traffic can be inexpensive or free but
naturally monetized with strategies like Google Adsense, link
brokering, and traditional advertising.
This definitely shows that search engine marketing is an
important part of the marketing mix of most companies —
especially in the retail industry. Search engine visibility may
take a few months to manifest themselves, but search engines
without a doubt drive sales down the info superhighway —
showing us the money along the way