Marketers May Shift Techniques to Match Kids’ Search Patterns

Search engine providers have built up an entire industry based on key words which support robust e‑commerce activity. Consumers have been trained to use key words in their searches in order to streamline results.  Just as marketers have developed expertise in managing this process, a new study indicates that the younger consumers are employing search in a whole different way.

According to a study published by Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the University of Maryland, and Google, younger consumers generally exhibit three distinct behaviors that differ from older users.

  • Children are often unable to spell correctly – a problem which generates flawed results.
  • Children tend to search on entire questions instead of key words.
  • Children prefer visual images.

The study results also identified 7 types of search personalities linked to various groups of kids:

Content: Tend to use favorite sites and search for specific content

Developing: Often use a question to search and will go directly to a site, bypassing search engines

Distracted: User can be easily led astray by animation and videos

Non-motivated: These users may not be particularly adept because their parents restrict Internet usage

Power: These users know the ins and outs of search and often look for school information or personal learning

Rule-bound: This group tends to follow only what they’ve been taught and always clicks the first link

Visual: Users generally like image and video displays

The boundaries between these search behaviors may fade gradually as computers and electronic blackboards take the place of books and older text-based materials in the classroom and as the playing field is leveled for children.  In the meantime, marketers may want to refine their search campaigns when selling specific products to children.

[Source: Digital Natives, Youth Markets Alert. Epmcom​.com  2.1.10]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.