comScore to Formalize Offline Conversion Coverage

Over the past several years, comScore has done work with both Yahoo! Search Marketing (then Overture) and Google that tracks the impact of search behavior on consumer buying. In those cases, the company has found that the majority of conversions occur offline. Indeed, in virtually every presentation I do about Local I point out that although e-commerce is now over $100 million annually, roughly 97% of US consumer retail spending is offline. And it's likely to stay that way (give or take a couple of percentage points) well into the foreseeable future.

However it's estimated that, as of last year, almost $350 million in annual consumer spending was influenced by the Internet. Yahoo! in its numerous consumer studies has documented this pattern: consumers research, compare and consider online and largely buy offline – especially where "high consideration" items are concerned. Beyond retail, almost 100% of services are fulfilled offline. But the relationship between online and offline is now highly blurred, with consumers using the Internet as a research tool and directory before buying locally.

Getting a real handle on all this behavior has been elusive and only occasional. That's why comScore's new qSearch Retail tracking study will be incredibly valuable. Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Watch points to a ClickZ article that explains and announces the new ongoing survey.

As more and more consumer behavior is made more transparent I predict we'll see more money (and more brand money) flowing online and into search, which starts to look a lot more complex and a lot less like "direct response" the more you consider consumer interaction with it.

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5 Responses to “comScore to Formalize Offline Conversion Coverage”

  1. Screenwerk » Blog Archive » Google Integrates Local Product Data into Maps Says:

    [...] As has been widely reported, comScore is launching a tracking study (qSearch Retail) that will formally connect the relationship between search/online shopping and offline buying. This ongoing study will only confirm the increasingly powerful relationship between the Internet and local shopping. [...]

  2. Search Engine Journal » Google Maps Integrates Local Product Data Says:

    [...] As has been widely reported, comScore is launching a tracking study (qSearch Retail) that will formally connect the relationship between search/online shopping and offline buying. This ongoing study will only confirm the increasingly powerful relationship between the Internet and local shopping. It’s estimated that almost $350 billion in offline transactions were influenced by the Internet in 2005. [...]

  3. brett1211 Says:

    What do you think of the opposite issue:that offline to online conversion is becoming increasingly relevant as primarily web based companies are looking for a way to differentiate themselves and expand their marketing channels. At least for me there is a serious loss of conversion from the content leads written down in the “to research” section of my notepad to the content that I actually look up and consume.

    http://bit.ly/hWi6A

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Brett:

    I think offline to online is a growing category and similarly hard to track. But in the search context studies have shown how traditional, offline media motivate online research and search behavior.

    Mobile makes this more pertinent: I’m in a store looking at TVs. I confirm that I want the Sony XYZ; I find it online cheaper and buy it (maybe even over my mobile) . . . and so on.

    This attribution challenge is becoming even more complex as the media world becomes more varied and convoluted.

  5. Google Integrates Local Product Data into Maps Says:

    [...] has been widely reported, comScore is launching a tracking study (qSearch Retail) that will formally connect the relationship between search/online shopping and [...]

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