Search Engine Usage Study: How Do Your Customers Interact with Search Engines?

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Search Engine Usage Study: How Do Your Customers Interact with Search Engines?

Performics today released results from its 2010 Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Insights Study, conducted by ROI Research Inc.  The study explores how Internet users conduct searches and interact with the SERP, as well as to what extent they have begun to use new search engine tools. Key findings offer insight on ways brands can leverage recent SERP changes to more effectively use search in their marketing mix.

“The SERP continues to evolve before our eyes, becoming more relevant for users with content that is more integrated, social, mobile, local and personal than ever before,” said Daina Middleton, CEO of Performics. “Understanding people’s motivations and behaviors can help marketers better engage with brand participants, more effectively manage the SERP and capitalize with more holistic strategies to connect with users throughout the purchase cycle.”

Some of the most interesting results of the study include:

  • More than three-quarters of respondents search to learn more about a product or service after seeing an ad elsewhere.
  • Searchers are tenacious – if at first they don’t succeed, they will modify their search and try again (89 percent), try a different search engine (89 percent), and go through multiple search results pages if necessary (79 percent).
  • Fifty-six percent at least occasionally click on real-time results.
  • Forty-three percent at least occasionally view or click on sponsored video ads.
  • Nearly two-thirds know the difference between natural and sponsored search results, with those age 18-29 most likely to be aware of the difference.

“The study found that roughly half of respondents will more likely click on a search result if a company/brand appears multiple times on the SERP,” noted Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research. “So the evolving SERP continues to reflect a brand’s image, not only as determined by that brand, but also by the general public through social and user generated content. The findings provide actionable data for marketers to more effectively use the SERP to drive participation, leads and sales.” 

The study also examined search engine preferences and usage:

  • Those who are new to using search, or relative beginners, are more likely than advanced searchers to use Yahoo! as their primary search engine.
  • Google commands more user loyalty than Yahoo! or Bing users, but those who use Google as their primary engine use an alternate search engine at least occasionally.
  • Yahoo! users are most likely to look at natural and sponsored results first, before other parts/features of the SERP.
  • More than 30 percent of Bing users utilize the engine’s rollover/pop up previews.

The 2010 SERP Insights Study was conducted in June 2010 among 500 respondents from the Greenfield Online panel of over 3 million households. Respondents must have used a search engine one or more times in the past week and be a regular user of Google, Yahoo! or Bing. Respondents were recruited and screened to be representative of the online U.S. population.

To request a complimentary copy of the 2010 Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Insights Study’s key findings, please contact Addie Reed at:

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