Consumer Age Impacts Search Strategy

BY Kathy Crosett
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Consumers of all ages know how to search online. But search strategy varies by age. Whether they are looking online for a new physician or a place to have dinner, the number of words consumers use in a search and their specific terminology varies by age group. All your clients have to do is use the keywords that match consumer search behavior and they’ll be one step closer to winning a new client. Here are the details.

Number of Words Used in Search Strings

Fractl researchers recently queried nearly 1,000 participants on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk regarding their search behavior. The participants were evenly balanced between the four major generations: Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers.

On average, consumers' search queries consist of just over four words. Baby boomers and Gen Xers are about average when they conduct searches: They use four words in their text strings. Millennials are slightly below average and use just under four words. Members of Generation Z are overachievers in the search world. Their text strings consist of about five words.

Word Choice and Search Strategy

Researchers presented study participants with a list of search terms and asked them to select the ones they’d most likely use.

Best” rules search terminology with millennials (50%) and Gen Zers (56.1%) saying they use this term. Only 30.3% of baby boomers include “best” in their search strings. “How to” is another winner. At least 63% of Gen Z folks type “how to” in their search boxes, and the same holds true for over 40% of baby boomers.

The Fractl analysts also reviewed several verticals with respect to the search terms used by consumers. If you’re working with restaurant clients, let them know that 68.6% of related searches include the keywords “near me” or similar phrasing. When consumers look for guidance, they also display some age-​specific behaviors. For example, older consumers often go directly to Pinterest to search for gift ideas. Gen Zers? Not so much.

Search can deliver a great ROI for your clients if they are strategic about who they are targeting and which keywords they emphasize. At the same time, they’ll want to avoid keyword stuffing. To learn more about how their current search efforts are performing, check out the Digital Audit available at AdMall from SalesFuel.