A new study has found that Australians are more likely to click on trusted brands rather than links relevant to their search terms during pre-shopping research.
A new comparison study by search marketing specialist, Outrider Australia and Global Reviews has identified a major shift in the way Australians research products online. The findings highlight that Australians are using search terms more frequently to research product purchases, but are resorting to brands for information. The majority of participants (66%) start researching with a search engine, but revealed they were more likely to click on websites from a brand they trusted (49%), than links that were relevant to their search terms (29%). This is a significant change from 2009, when search term relevancy was the most common motive for clickthroughs (40%), followed by trusted brands (39%). This is also supported by the customer’s focus on brand or shop search terms, which outpaced generic product terms in 2011.
“There are a number of factors for brands to consider here when designing their search strategies,” said Victor Navarro, Commercial Director, Outrider Australia.
“First is brand protection. Google allows you to submit your trademark to them for consideration, to prevent other advertisers from advertising under it. This is fairly critical, otherwise you could have competitors advertising under your brand and leveraging marketing efforts you have made to generate search traffic.”
Navarro also said that the increased adoption of online advertising and the shift towards brand searches has meant that businesses should take a multipronged approach to digital marketing strategy.
“The smartest brands are now using search at the core of their digital strategies and leveraging an integrated approach across search, display, EDM and Social Media to maximise cost efficiencies and not be at the mercy of rising click costs,” he continued.
The study also identified the rising power of social media, finding that Facebook impacted the decision of one-in-three high earners ($75K) prior to an online purchase. This demographic were almost twice as likely to be influenced by Facebook than lower-income counterparts.
“The reality is, from a brand exposure perspective, search is still very cost effective, and for smaller brands who may not have the marketing budgets of the bigger players, search is still an extremely important channel. But in saying that, it is getting harder to get the same results you may have achieved a couple of years ago, especially with more of the major traditional bricks and mortar retailers finally waking up this year and investing in e-commerce,” Navarro said.
“This means you need to be more vigilant in addressing other aspects in the consumer purchase journey. Things like website user experience and targeting are now more important than ever.”
Key findings from the study include:
• 66% of participants begin product research with a search engine.
• 50% clicked on search results from a brand they trusted, up from 39% in 2009.
• 30% clicked on a link because it was relevant to their search, down from 41%.
• 33% clicked on a link because it was in top three results, up from 27%.
• 1-in-3 high-earners (75K+) have been influenced by Facebook to purchase products online, compared to 17% of lower-income earners.
• Facebook is almost twice as influential for online research for high-earners 46% of high-earners, compared to 27% for lower income earners.