According to proprietary research conducted by About.com in collaboration with Latitude, users searching on the Internet exhibit three distinct human behavior search patterns.
The Three Mindsets of Search study combined quantitative and qualitative methodologies to explore the search landscape as it pertains to behavior patterns. The three search patterns identified include:
- Answer Me (46% of all searches): People in an Answer Me search want exactly what they ask for, and no more, delivered in a way that allows them to get to it as directly as possible. The top categories in Answer Me search are Entertainment, Fashion and Beauty & Style.
- Educate Me (26% of all searches): People in an Educate Me search want 360 degrees of understanding, and multiple perspectives on critical topics. They will search until their goal is achieved, which may stretch over long periods of time and through related topics. The top categories in Educate Me search are Health and Finance.
- Inspire Me (28% of all searches): The fun, “browsy” type of search, where people are looking for surprises, have open minds and want to be led. The top categories in Inspire Me search are Travel and Home & Garden.
Laura Salant, director, research, About.com, says that “... people’s... needs and preferences in the offline world drive their behaviors and preferences online... understanding (this) in search behaviors can help marketers... connect...”
- On an Answer Me moment, says the report, respond by featuring product benefits front and center, in addition to aligning content that presents quick, easy-to-find answers
- For the Educate me search mindset, create messaging that is informative, in addition to providing a way to learn more about the topic from multiple angles that present in-depth information and resources
- For the Inspire Me mindset, align with content that inspires creativity and offers endless choices. Too many ideas are never enough for this mindset, opines the report, as long as it excites their imagination
The study also revealed that the meaning of expertise is evolving to include multiple types. The type of experts desired in a given situation depends on the search type, search category and search intensity. When it comes to defining experts:
- 96% of those surveyed included self-taught “allies” with deep experience and motivation
- 87% of those surveyed included traditional credentialed experts, who are formally educated
- 89% of those surveyed included the wisdom of crowds or other experienced users in social or outside networks
In addition, the study showed that consumers look to brands to provide their own expertise through advertisements, as long as it is the right kind. When it comes to advertising, the study found that:
- 64% of the respondents agreed that ads have helped them find great options, deals or discounts
- 77% of the respondents agreed that ads can be useful when they are very relevant to their search
- 88% of the respondents felt the best ads are the ones that work with the information source to help you get what you need
- 86% of the respondents noticed and enjoy when brands stop trying to sell you something and focus on teaching you something
Please go here to see more from About.com and to access a copy of the 2011 Three Mindsets of Search study.