Commentary

How Search Marketers Must Challenge Their Assumptions

Marketers assume they know how consumers search, but they need to challenge their assumptions. Nathan Safran, CEO at Blue Nile Research, sent that message during a presentation Thursday at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit. He said tools are valuable, but they lull marketers into a false sense of security.

Safran said marketers need to challenge assumptions and look at campaigns from a different perspective. He suggests building personas and paying more attention to language, geographic location, and how people phrase things during a specific time and place depending on the device they use to do the search. All this will determine the amount of words used in a query, and how they phrase it.

Questions vs. answers

In a study of about 183 respondents, he found on average that 50% of searches contain two to three words in a query, and the other half contain four or more. About 73% form non-question queries, while 27% form queries with questions, with 38% asking how; 24% asking why; 15% asking where; 12% asking which; and 11% asking what.

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Know Your Audience

There are two types of searchers -- those looking to speed the search, and others who want to go deeper for answers, Safran said. While one type is willing to peruse search results and click into multiple links, the other takes an extra moment to best phrase their query. The queries are changing because the devices and the processes in which people gather information continue to change. It creates a gap between what consumers think and reality.

Step back and consider whether you know the audience and the content they might need. Content helps marketers build the relationship with consumers, and the headlines typically determine the response. In a survey for Conductor, Safran found that 36% of readers clicked on a headline with a number in it, 21% looked for ways needed to make something better, 17% wanted to know how to make something better, 15% wanted to know the number of ways to make something better, and 11% questioned the ways to make something better.

1 comment about "How Search Marketers Must Challenge Their Assumptions".
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  1. Michael Lynn from ECD Consulting, June 12, 2015 at 8:22 a.m.

    Blue Nile Research beleives that it can provide insights based on 183 respondents?  Research indicates 3billion+ searches/day. Blue Nile needs to do some more homework on "statistical significance" and you shouldn't have published this.

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