VoIP Customers Turn to Search
For the study, Yahoo! Search Marketing commissioned the National American Testing Organization to survey 302 U.S. broadband users at home in August. Nine out of 10 respondents said they used the Web to learn about Voice over Internet Protocol phone service, with 67 percent of that group saying they used search engines as a primary tool for research.
Eighty-two percent of respondents said they found relevant information about VoIP through search engines, compared to 67 percent who found relevant information at providers' Web sites. Seventy-nine percent said that keyword search helped them find information they couldn't find elsewhere, and 66 percent said they could not make a good decision without it.
Josh Stylman, a managing partner with search engine marketing firm Reprise Media, noted that prices and demand for VoIP-related terms were in line with other competitive sectors in search advertising. "Specific to VoIP, we're seeing a lot more players in the market. Obviously, it's an emerging category," he said. "Our hypothesis is that it isn't just about the early adopter anymore, as voice over IP becomes more mainstream. Marketers are looking at people who are looking to just acquire phone service, and putting their message in front of them."
Plus, Stylman said, VoIP is a natural fit for search advertising, since subscription can be done over the Web, and all potential customers are online. "Any company that has subscription-based service online would be remiss not to use search as a customer acquisition vehicle," he said. "And if you're a VOIP company, you know your audience is online. With other categories, you may be doing some guesswork as to what percentage is online, but with VoIP, it's by definition 100 percent."