Search Drives CPG Site Traffic And Store Sales: Study
"We're starting to see brand advertiser interest in search translate into integrated display and search media plans," said Matt Wilburn, Yahoo's senior director, CPG. "But there's been a great desire for more information and data around the consumer aspect of search. The majority of search studies have been about click-stream data or CPMs and CPAs--and this was aimed at trying to provide more CPG insights."
Nearly 163 million unique consumers visited baby, food, personal care and household product sites during the three-month span of the study--with 71 million of those visits originating via search.
Baby and food products drew the most search traffic, with 60% and 47% of visitors arriving via search, respectively. Meanwhile, roughly a quarter of traffic to personal care and household product sites was driven by search.
Beyond traffic generation, the research found that search-driven CPG site visitors' motivations went beyond typical direct response needs. For example, while less than a third of CPG searchers were looking specifically for the company Web site, some 73% were researching products, 64% were seeking help with an actual purchase decision, and nearly half were looking for product promotions.
Understanding CPG searcher motivations was key to linking brand benefits to search behaviors.
According to Randy Peterson, Procter & Gamble's search innovation manager: "Search may be one of the most effective means of reaching qualified consumers when and where they are most receptive to learning about our brands. Ultimately, this drives offline sales.
"It's not just consumers searching for brand names," added Wilburn. "That does happen, but this research illustrates that consumers are meeting a broader set of needs through search. They're searching for products that can answer lifestyle questions like 'I have hair loss,' or 'I'm fighting wrinkles'--and life stage questions like 'I'm going away to college' or 'I just bought a home.'"
Wilburn added that CPG advertisers aiming to reinforce their brand as "the brand of choice for fulfilling those needs" needed to secure their space on 'The Digital Shelf'--in the same way they spend billions to snag the best possible in-store shelf space.
"Online, the consumers aren't walking to the shelf--they're punching in keywords, so the search engine results become a digital shelf," said Wilburn. "They evaluate the brands that show up in a split second and make a choice--and that click or link is analogous to a sale in-store. Search just represents a far cheaper opportunity to win over the consumer."