Search's Zigzag Approach Could Cost Google Ad Dollars, Market Share

There's a lot of talk about cross-channel advertising, where consumers begin a search, and how many they traverse during their quest for information. In fact, 49% of consumers looking locally for national products and services conduct four or more searches, with 24% conducting six or more on a variety of sites, not just search engines, according to data released Tuesday.

Not all searches begin or include traditional search engines from Google, Bing and Yahoo. About 66% of search sessions don't being on a traditional engines. Half of all search sessions do not use a general search engine at all, per findings from "Local Search: Unleashing Opportunities for National Brands."

The study -- conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) on behalf of YP and presented at Advertising Week in New York -- reveals consumers perform multiple searches across multiple engines and Web sites and apps on multiple devices from multiple locations.

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Consumers adjusting where they start the search query could force advertising dollars to follow. At stake is the $25.66 billion marketers will spend on search advertising in the United States in 2015 -- which will rise to $36.81 billion by 2019, according to eMarketer.

IDC estimates that 36% of consumers use two or more devices -- smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. About 35 % did local searches from two or more locations--home, work, shopping, on the go. And, 16% did two or more additional offline searches. Some 35% of searches are done in two or more physical locations.

About 86% of local searches are done in a day or which 63% completed the search within an hour, says Karsten Weide, program VP for digital media and entertainment at IDC. Marketers need to adjust search campaigns in real-time for every step in the sales funnel, he says.

Weide notes that 86% of consumers use smartphones at home; 57%, while shopping; 47%, on the go but not shopping; and 47% at work or school. Consumers age 35 to 44 are the most active demographic on mobile search. 

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