During the past eighteen months, companies have experienced an explosive acceleration in digital transformation. Businesses that had historically struggled with ecommerce and digital adoption -- such as those in healthcare and finance, where consumers prefer face-to-face interaction -- suddenly found themselves operating solely online.
And in the resulting pursuit of clean, useful, meaningful data to drive smarter optimizations in this hyperconnected environment, we have found an unlikely hero: search insights.
Organic search has emerged as much more than a siloed marketing channel or tactic. In fact, the consumer behavior and intent being gleaned from search interactions is proving to be indispensable across the enterprise.
Search is now the insight center for all things digital
SEO has finally grown into its potential. Of course, the practice of optimizing for searchers ties directly to the search engines themselves, and there we are seeing a renaissance.
Next-generation search engines, now powered by deep neural networks and machine learning, are set to explode in market value, from $14.9 billion in 2019 to $55.7 billion in 2025.
Driving that enhanced value is the evolution of search from a digitized catalogue of information to an experience in its own right.
Consumers now turn to search to meet their every need and find solutions to every type of problem under the sun, from where to eat tonight or what car to buy to how to invest their money and more.
How, what, when and why people search feeds insight to all channels.
You would be remiss to plan your PPC spend without considering what organic search is already achieving. Consumer search behavior provides the context that drives exceptional experiences across the web, email, in social media, and more.
Marketers are now challenged to consider the numerous entry points at which a consumer may be engaged and ensure there is a comprehensive strategy driving those interactions, as well. Across TV sets, smartphones, connected devices (IoT), and in real-world surroundings, consumers expect seamless brand experiences.
Search insights range from the micro, revealing the uniquely individual needs that brought each person to your website, to macro — that searches for “support local businesses” ballooned 20,000% YoY in 2020, for example, is telling.
The utility of these insights now spans far beyond the marketing realm too.
Search data’s place in core business intelligence
Search and website analytics have benefitted from the evolution of AI, as well. Smart automation has enabled us to zoom out from that pinhole peek into consumer behavior SEO data initially gave us to a robust, comprehensive view of not only what the consumer did, but why.
Search data, collected and analyzed at scale, offers a myriad of insights into consumer intent, desires, motivations, and actions. In this way, search has become the ultimate listening tool and can reveal such understandings as:
Search is as close an approximation as we can get to real-time voice of the customer, and provides otherwise disconnected data the context needed to activate it.
For marketing, this means we are now able to analyze industry trends in real-time.
And with AI driving real-time analysis and even optimizations, we are now able to respond to our enhanced understanding of the consumer’s need in the very moment they are searching and receptive to personalized offers.
For product, it means we can make sure products are aligned to consumer needs. We can plan for seasonality and new buyer trends, investing in growing product categories.
Leadership can create and forecast based on predictive modeling, visualize category demand and inventory in real-time, and quickly spot inefficiencies in product or pricing strategy.
From product development, customer acquisition, and sales through to service, post-sales support, and loyalty, consumers are searching at every stage to find just what they need to improve the experience at that moment. Search is a window into the user experience every step of the way.
Making decisions based on just historic data will only ever tell you where you’ve been — it says nothing about where your company and its market are headed. And if there’s anything the experience of a global pandemic has taught us, it’s that we must be agile and utilize past and present data to understand the future.
Real-time search insights enable companies to spot opportunities ahead of the competition and deliver more rapidly on changing consumer needs. They keep you at the ready and in position to align teams and tactics across channels with speed, consistency, and precision.
And whatever comes our way next, that’s exactly where you need to be.