Only 31% of marketers say they optimize the search channel to enhance the customer experience, according to a survey published this week that suggests companies will put experience at the top of their to-do list of improvements in 2017.
The findings from the Econsultancy, with support from IBM Watson Marketing, suggest that search remains an important element in the customer journey -- particularly when it comes to new customer acquisition -- but marketers need to heed the approach they use especially on mobile devices.
On the desktop, organic search remains at the "mercy of brand name recognition." On mobile it's different. The strategy should revolve around the value and specific goals of driving customers to search on the Web. It should also guarantee that the action of the searcher produces first of second tier query results, per the analysis of the findings.
"Without considering the implications of paid-for search results dominating the first page, organic keyword search is a weak strategy for gaining reach," per the study. "Companies should be investing in building brand name awareness and recognition to make desktop search more cost-effective as it becomes much more expensive to push a generic keyword to the top of the results than it does to promote a unique brand name."
Some 70% of respondents said they optimized their desktop Web sites to enhance the customer experience, followed by 61%, mobile Web sites; 53%, email; 37%, social; 17%, offline channels; 16%, mobile; and 4%, other.
Their research suggests that consumers who interact with rich content before they reach the retailer's Web site are 20% more likely to purchase a product or a service compared with those who do not. The average order value also runs about 22% higher for those who interact with rich content.
Once consumers reach the Web site, the most successful content threads through pages that make up the customer journey, including product listings, product details and reviews, per the report.
During the panel on setting customer expectations before reaching the home page, Min Cho, senior director of digital marketing and analytics at Cars.com, said during the MediaPost Search Insider Summit pointed to personalization as an underutilized feature. Having a landing page that will adjust to the keywords being bid on is also a key factor.