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.

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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