Report: More than half of consumers use online searches before buying

How do your digital marketing campaigns fare on search engines? A survey of U.S. consumers show that many turn to it to make purchasing decisions—but improvements can be made.


Do you remember the first time you Googled something?

Online search has come far since then—and it’s not just the advertising models. Google’s algorithm has become phenomenally complex. There are entire careers that are built on figuring out how to have content appear on top.

Though online search has become ubiquitous, many consumers in the United States aren’t completely satisfied with their online search experience, a recent study from SearchDex revealed.

The company’s 2017 Google Game Survey found that 58 percent of U.S. consumers search a product online before making a purchase, and more than a quarter of them seek online reviews. Consumers also use digital searches to find various retailer options (26 percent), compare prices (25 percent) and find physical retail store locations (19 percent).

One third of U.S. consumers report that their shopping experiences begin with a search engine. That’s higher than retailer websites (20 percent), retail store websites (18 percent) and brand websites (15 percent).

As mentioned, digital search results still aren’t perfect. This is due, in large part, to unsavory marketing and SEO tactics. Some brand managers are able to game the system and get eyes on their organizations’ sites when it’s not necessarily warranted.

Sneaky moves come at a price, though. You might get more clicks on your website when gaming the system, but 31 percent of consumers say they’re less likely to buy from a website that is found through misleading search results.

SearchDex revealed a number or additional annoyances to consumers who search online:

  • 39 percent dislike targeted ads
  • 21 percent are annoyed by outdated search results
  • 18 percent report that their desired result not on first page of search results
  • 17 percent are frustrated by slow load times
  • 12 percent say the description of search result is unclear
  • 10 percent complain that the key search term is missing

There’s also concern about security. More than half of consumers (68 percent) say they’re concerned about their browser history being sold.

How might this data affect your next digital or content marketing effort?

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