GroupM Research: Make Bigger Bets On Organic Search

A new report from GroupM Search and sibling company Kantar Media Compete shows that American consumers do online research before making almost all of their in-store purchases.

The research, which was unveiled at GroupM’s What’s Next Conference in New York Thursday indicates just how enmeshed the Internet has become in the daily lives of consumers.

The GroupM/Kantar report indicates that a staggering 86% of buyers who purchase products at a brick-and-mortar outlet hit the Internet beforehand and use generic search terms on search engines before they buy.

Of those shoppers who conduct a search and click on a link, 90% of those clicks are on organic listings of a search engine results page, the research found.

“The Web is influencing more than $1 trillion of in-store sales and search is the number one online channel for driving that revenue,” said Chris Copeland, CEO GroupM Search, who presented an overview of the new research at the conference.

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“This new understanding of the retail shopper represents a behavioral shift,” Copeland said. “The intent shown in search provides brands an opportunity to maximize their online revenues and encourage and cultivate greater in-store sales.”

Copeland told conference attendees that six out 10 searchers click on a result and that 95% go to a third party destination and not a brand page. Only during the holiday season (September-December) do the top 100 retailers see a few more of those searchers heading to their sites.  Only 7% percent of searchers head to a paid listing, Copeland reported.

Mobile will play an increasing role in search, Copeland said. The research found that last year 20% of holiday shoppers used a mobile device for search to aid their efforts. That figure is expected to jump to 50% this year, he said.

The big take-away, Copeland said is that marketers should “bet bigger on organic search.” They also have to focus more on driving buyers to the right destination, such as store locators.

Increasingly, Copeland said, “buyers are mobile and you have to match that interest.”

The research focused on a clickstream analysis of data captured over 13 months and a behavioral survey that focused on three national brands from the consumer electronics, automotive and entertainment sectors. A white paper on the findings is available on the groupmsearch.com site.

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