A new article posted April 1st is not an April Fools’ prank. Search Engine Land (SEL) put up research which proves search drives ten times more traffic to shopping websites than social media.
The study was part of SimilarWeb’s Global Search Marketing Report 2016 and did not report on how much site traffic converted to sales.
The media tested included Direct, eMail, Referrals, Search, Social, and Display Ads. Leading the way was Search, followed closely by Direct, and then Referral. Email was a dismal last place, but not far behind Display ads.
Source: SimilarWeb Global Search Marketing Report 2016
The Psychology of Search
We advise our clients to remember the mindset that consumers are in which drives their search. When a mom comes after finding out her daughter has Celiac Disease, her search behavior will be very different from someone searching for sporting goods. She will click tons of links and go 8 pages deep into the search results, and I’m willing to bet she won’t click any banner ads because she wants to learn a lot before she buys anything.
The chart on SEL’s article revealed another important fact – search users are more likely to click banners in some searches than in others. Sports and General Merchandise searchers clicked more banners than did those looking for Jewelry or Home & Garden solutions. Over 50% of those seeking General Merchandise retail products clicked the banners. Those really surprised me. Can this be explained by the visual nature of banner ads? When you can see a solution for your sports or general merchandise searches, it makes sense to me that you’ll be more likely to click a banner and maybe even make a purchase.
Searches for jewelry or consumer electronics, or home & garden merchandise require more thought, perhaps even advise on the website. It’s a more considered purchase.
Results like these should drive your content marketing
If you’re an online retailer in one of those categories in which consumers require more education, then your content should be ready to do just that. You might even consider landing pages for your leading products. On those pages you’d have a mix of educational text, a video, perhaps some diagrams, and an offer for a free eBook (lead capture) on how to set up or use the product.
Organic Search vs Paid
Organic is crushing paid search for total traffic by 95% to 5%. Again, we think this has a lot to do with the reason for the search. Lots of consumer search is driven by the need to educate oneself about a considered purchase. A growing percentage of search users understand the results on the top are ads and the rest earned a top 10 ranking from Google because they deserve to be there.
Make sure your content marketing service understands search intent
Does your current content marketing approach take into account whether or not consumers consider your product or service a considered purchase? If they don’t need to ponder over the decision to buy, you might want to add banner advertising to your marketing mix which includes pics of the product they’re searching for. If consumer education is needed, then consider how you will answer their questions on-site.