For now, marketers spend considerably more of their ad budgets on paid search than they do on newer online formats like social media. If a marketer bids enough on the right keywords, potential shoppers will see the company’s name appear near the top of the first page of generated results. Can it be that easy to get a shopper to visit a website or is something more involved? Performics addresses this topic in its 2010 Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Insights Study which was conducted by ROI. The goal of the study was to determine how consumers use search engines and if they are employing some of the new features that have become available.

One finding reveals that consumers often turn to search engines as a second source of information. Three out of 4 people who search have first seen an ad about an interesting product or service somewhere else.

Once a consumer is seated in front of search results, they exhibit the following understanding:

  • Modify results and try again when no good results are found 89%
  • Change search engines when no good results are found 89%
  • Look through several pages to find what they want 79%
  • Click on real-time results 56%
  • Click on a result when a brand or name appears several times on same page 50%
  • View/Click on sponsored video ads 43%

The study also found that consumers use specific search engines for various reasons:

  • New users: Yahoo!
  • Loyal users: Google
  • Rollover/popup previous users: Bing

Search remains a powerful way to connect with consumers. Marketers who take the time to build a content and key word strategy that drives up their position on the SERP list will be rewarded with more “participation, leads and sales” according to Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research.
[Source: Search Engine Usage Study: How Do Your Customers Interact with Search Engines? Performics.com. 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2010]