Search and Branding Redux

Today's Search Day article at Search Engine Watch summarizes a New York SES panel on search and branding. The panelists were representatives from Performics, Danskin, Digital Grit, SEOMoZ and Yahoo!'s Ron Belanger, champion of search as a branding medium. The summary recites many of the "whys" of branding through search and some of the "hows."

Yahoo! in particular has been pushing the notion of branding through search, in part to get more of larger marketers' ad spend. But they've also been trying to educate agencies and others about objective consumer behavior and why it's important not to think about search as solely a "direct response" medium. Consumer behavior argues that search is something much more complex than that.

A case in point:

comScore studied impact of search on latent online purchase behavior and offline buying during the 2005 US December-holiday season. The search-influenced transactions that were tracked happened mostly locally, in stores. And the volume of searches per online buyer was striking — the average number of searches per buyer in all retail categories was 65.1. What that reflects is consumers doing research, price comparisons and a range of behaviors beyond "direct response."

A related datapoint here is that DoubleClick and comScore have independently reported that most of the search volume is in the "head" — roughly 75% or more of search queries are for category or "generic" terms. And something less than a quarter of all search volume is for "tail terms," which convert much more effectively but are fewer. What this split also reflects is the complexity of consumer behavior as it relates to search.

Here's my earlier post, prompted by my participation in the Yahoo! Searchlight awards. It contains some thoughts on the nature of consumers' interaction with search and its role as a quasi-branding medium.

3 Responses to “Search and Branding Redux”

  1. Screenwerk » Blog Archive » Tracking Role of Search in the Buying Cycle Says:

    […] One of the takeaways from the report is that it takes multiple clicks to convert a large percentage of consumers. This is consistent with comScore research for Google this past holiday season that showed an average of 65 searches across categories before transactions were actually consummated. […]

  2. Search Engine Journal » Role of Search in the Buying Cycle Says:

    […] One of the takeaways from the report is that it takes multiple clicks to convert a large percentage of consumers. This is consistent with comScore research for Google this past holiday season that showed an average of 65 searches across categories before transactions were actually consummated. […]

  3. The 3 Types of Web Searchers (And How to Reach Each) | Hotel Marketing Strategies Blog Says:

    […] during the research process. Comscore research has indicated that the average person conducts 65 different search variations before making a purchase. As the trip planner conducts more and more searches, he becomes more […]

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