Commentary

Targeted Ads And Outdated Results Annoy Online Searchers

According to SearchDex, a digital marketing technology company, in a survey of behaviors around online searching and shopping, 58% of Americans search for their next purchase, and 27% say that they use search engines to read product reviews.

When it comes to searching before shopping, other search strategies include:

  • Seeing various online retailer options … 26%
  • Comparing prices …  25%
  • Finding physical retail store location … 19%
  • Finding coupon codes … 15%

Additionally, 32% of Americans say their online shopping efforts begin with a search engine, followed by:

  • Online-only retailer website … 20%
  • Retail store website … 18%
  • Brand website… 15%

The report suggests that online retailers take note that 31% of Americans said that misleading search results would make them less likely to buy from a particular website, and another 31% said they would worry that the retailer might be a scam. In addition, says the report, 27% said a misleading search result would push them back to a more familiar website.

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 Dave Chaplin, CEO of SearchDex, says “…for brands and retailers to succeed, it’s not just about showing up in search results, it’s about how they show up in search results… an online search is… potentially the beginning of the relationship… if that brand or retailer comes up in an irrelevant search, the relationship has already been damaged… winning the SEO game is about… using sophisticated SEO to get in front of consumers who are looking for what you have to offer…”

 68% of Americans approach their internet searches with a strategy, says the report. Prime among these strategies are 41% using strings of keywords, 31% using full-sentence questions, and 20% utilizing category searches.

 Chaplin added “…today’s search engines are using sophisticated algorithms to determine what people are looking for, so, full-sentence questions can actually be a more effective search strategy than keyword searches…”

 While 76% Americans believe themselves to be talented at internet searching, surprisingly few say their internet search strategy involves higher-level search functions like Boolean searches (5%), or even just simple quotation marks (13%). 

 47% ofAmericans say search engines are most useful for finding general information

  • 30% for reading the news
  • 27% for online shopping
  • 13% regularly consult their search engine of choice to figure out acronyms
  • 10% turn to their search engines to find out the time in different time zones
  • 11% use their search engines to do math.

 68% of Americans admit to being annoyed by some aspect of online searching. The top annoyances include:

  • Targeted ads … 39%
  • Outdated search results … 21%
  • Desired result not on first page of search results … 18%
  • Slow load times … 17%
  • Description of search result unclear … 12%
  • Key search term labeled as missing … 10%

 A majority of Americans (68%) have concerns about their browser history being sold to big companies. Top among these concerns are that it would cause an increase in annoying ads (44%), that their data could fall into the wrong hands (43%), that their private searches could be made public (40%), or that a security breach could cause their browser history to be exposed (40%).

 For this reason, says the report, Americans prefer to use incognito windows to access their bank accounts (21%). Americans also prefer to use incognito windows to research and buy gifts (14%), watch embarrassing movies and TV shows (13%), download confidential work documents (12%), and check social media (11%).

 For additional information from SearchDex, please visit here.

 

 

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