It’s estimated that Google processes 63,000 search queries every second. That’s roughly 5.6 billion searches per day or about 2 trillion global searches per year.
This equates to three to four searches each day for every person. As search rates continue to rise and queries become increasingly sophisticated, it’s important for brands to understand how consumer search behavior is evolving.
In effort to get a better grasp on these changing dynamics, Botify has initiated a piece of research to identify some of the most influential factors impacting both U.S. and UK customer search journeys, and which platforms are (or are becoming) search “go-to’s.” The following data aims to provide important insight into consumer purchase behaviors, specifically looking at the role organic search marketing can play in a brand’s findability and resulting authority.
Based on our findings, here are 5 Tips to Building Better Brand Authority and delivering a more positive consumer experience:
Have a clear understanding of how different consumer groups search and navigate those results
Understanding how your brand is found through organic search is probably one of the most understated points in modern marketing. Why? Because instead of clicking through to page two, more than one-third of total U.S. respondents (34%) said they would change the terms of their search if they were not satisfied with the initial results. Similarly, 39% of UK searchers would change their search terms. If your brand isn’t showing up when it’s needed, assume that your competitor (or others) will.
What’s more, of the UK’s 39% who would change their search terms, 52% are Generation Z and 50% are Millennials. This really speaks to the importance of engaging “the next generation” over the long-term and providing consistent opportunities for brand engagement.
In a time where advertising budgets are being reduced, and paid search costs are increasing, understanding market differences in search behavior is critical to harnessing the potential of organic search decision-making and empowering a stronger brand experience with greater findability.
Strive for The Top Five
Organic search can increase customer engagement with your brand by supporting the discoverability of your most relevant (and bottom-line driving) content. Relevancy is why a brand shows up in search results in the first place. The greater the relevance, the stronger the rank — and today that matters more than ever. In fact, more than half of all U.S. respondents (53%) said they favor brands that are featured in the top 5 search results, with 4 in 10 (40%) UK respondents sharing a similar preference.
Brands that appear in the top 5 search results are particularly important to UK Millennials (58%) and Gen Z (60%), and 64% of the U.S. Millennial audience — who by the way, is currently the largest generational consumer group in the U.S. (Statista). This is yet another reminder of the importance of engaging Millennials, as they are today’s decision makers and the most empowered purchasing population to date. If your brand isn’t currently ranking in the top 5, start by identifying why content is falling short. From there, you can better optimize to improve visibility, increase audience engagement and retention, which in turn, can lead to improved customer experience and, eventually, ROI.
Drive Profitability By Being Found
According to our results, 55% of total U.S. respondents indicated that they do sometimes follow or convert to a new brand when they find them through search. UK consumers are similar, with 55% admitting to sometimes converting to new brands found online, reinforcing that, no matter the location, with the right strategy, there’s opportunity to attract new followers/customers and scale your brand. If you’re not showing up consistently to grow brand awareness over time, when the consumer is ready to purchase, your brand may not be considered in that decision.
Strike a balance between paid and organic search investments
During the pandemic, consumer behaviors trended toward extreme and quickly reactive behaviors, in response to news updates and economic volatility. In turn, companies prioritized resources that could drive quick results to meet the quickly pivoting, knee-jerk needs of consumers, moving away from strategies that build sustainable and balanced growth over the long term. But what goes up, must (at some point) come down, indicated in this case by the fact that less than 15% of U.S. respondents say that they purposely click on ads that show up in their search results. However, unlike the U.S., 40% of UK consumers do purposely click on ads – potentially an indication of cultural differences in trust of advertising in general.
It’s clear that consumer sentiment and behavior in response to ads varies from market to market, so this should encourage brands to approach each market differently, and not apply a blanket approach that could falsely inflate paid performance. Instead, brands should consider the right combination of paid and organic search, to reach the audiences that matter most—when and where they are ready to engage.
Leverage AI to increase impact
According to more than 60% of total respondents in the U.S. and 46% in the UK, search engines, specifically Google, continue to be the #1 tool for conducting retail-related searches. This makes it all the more important for a brand to relevantly appear when a consumer is actively looking for a product or service they offer. However, while our dependencies on search engines might not have evolved greatly, what has evolved is the importance of not only understanding why a brand is not showing up when their services are needed most, but how to rectify the issue at scale. This exemplifies the need for integrating AI-driven recommendations as part of your organic search strategy.
From an organic search perspective, Artificial Intelligence is the new search differentiator that can greatly increase impact for brands. When paired with Machine Learning, this dynamic combination can accelerate speed to actionable insight, and ultimately implementation, offering marketers across every industry a powerful leg up.
Consumers trust what they know, and search engines have long dominated, and continue to dominate (and influence) how we search. Because of this, and the growing rate and diversity of consumer search behaviors, brands should no longer consider a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to search.
As global economies will continue to ebb and flow, for many, Google Ads will have less impact on driving consumers to buy — or to trust. To build that trust, search strategies must meet customers where they are, with what they need, when they need it.
Learn how you can build better brand authority with Botify.