Shoppers Use Generic Terms To Find Buyable Items

by , Oct 17, 2011, 6:19 PM
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Paid search on a brand name is an important advertising mechanism for marketers looking to drive traffic to their Web site (and, in turn, encourage purchases in a store), no doubt. But they may not want to ignore the organic links and third-party sites that pop up with generic terms.

According to new research from GroupM Search, 86% of buyers who make their purchases in-store use a generic term to find what they’re looking for before they head out to the store to buy it. The recently concluded research also shows that when consumers click on a link after a search, 90% of the time they’re using the organic search listings.

“People know the categories they’re interested in, and in very specific instances [the remaining 14%], they know the brand,” Chris Copeland, CEO of GroupM Search, tells Marketing Daily. “But for the most part, they’re trusting Google and Bing to find what they’re looking for.”

And they’re relying on Internet searches more and more. According to the research, 93% of all buyers, whether purchasing online or in-store, use search, and 80% of them rate it as very or extremely useful. But with such a preponderance of searchers using organic links, many brands and retailers may want to rethink their strategies, Copeland says.

“I don’t think advertisers or retailers have bet big enough on organic search. I think they have to bet bigger,” he says. “You’ve got to find ways of providing larger blocks of content that the engines can grab onto.”

Much of that content may not even be on a brand’s home site. For the most part, when consumers do click-through after a search, they’re not going to a brand site, but rather to a third-party site that may contain reviews or other information, Copeland says. Moving forward, brands and retailers may want to find ways to more closely connect with those sites in more relevant ways.

“Brands have to do a better job of linking with the purchase [made] in store, the way digital retailers do today,” Copeland says. They also need to get more inside the head of the consumer to better enable what he or she is looking for; more than 5% of the traffic that is measured to an advertiser’s site is looking for a store locator, according to the research.

2 comments on "Shoppers Use Generic Terms To Find Buyable Items ".

  1. Nick Drew from Yahoo Canada
    commented on: October 18, 2011 at 12:22 p.m.
    This makes no sense - "86% of consumers use generic search terms" does not mean that the remaining 14% use brand terms. Consumers are making multiple searches on route to a purchase; for more research-led purchases (bigger-ticket items, but also new-for-them category or brand purchases) they will generally progress from broad-brush, generic terms through to more specific, brand-related terms, as they get closer to deciding on a purchase. The truth is that brands have to cover both bases in order to guarantee relevance at every stage; there is no 'one or the other' approach.
  2. Joel Rubinson from Rubinson Partners, Inc.
    commented on: October 18, 2011 at 1:54 p.m.
    how do I reconcile the implications of this with the fact that the top 30 terms or so that drive traffic to a website are almost all trademark variants. sorry , don't buy the point the author is trying to make

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