Internet user behavior evolves as rapidly as new sources of information and platforms for engagement become available.
For individuals, this means that every month, week, or day there might be a new website to submit a product review, a new blog to read about their favorite topic, or a new social platform on which they have to create a profile in order to be where their friends are. New sources for information research appear, with new forums for voicing opinions, resulting in more data, everywhere, about everything, for everyone to consume. As users engage, they develop relationships with digital entities and pave reputations throughout communities.
For businesses, this means that they have to regularly adapt digital marketing strategy, engage in new advertising, publish more content, establish a new presence on the next rave business profile site or social platform, and constantly adjust business operations to the current yet always changing standard of having the right information and media in the right places to achieve the right digital presence. As users find more ways to post, comment, share, and review, the stakes for businesses rise as their presence evolves. This also means that they may unknowingly have a business “presence” somewhere without actively creating one. Remembering our social nature, people are going to share their experiences with a product or company with or without the business’ consent.
Search engines, however, provide a refreshing consistency for both individuals and businesses. Although the nature of the content available on search engines constantly changes, there’s general consistency in the types of content, and in the platform itself. People search, read, analyze, and click. Here exists a series of reliable control variables for people and businesses, which (among other reasons) are why there are not many search engines that people use today. A few search engine companies play the game well and the trust and convenience they provide keeps them in the game.
However, the nature and “intent” of user searches has evolved, and will continue to. For a long time most consumers would simply search for whatever it was they wanted to find, learn, or buy. “Cheap Flights” “Desktop Computer” “Women’s Shoes” “How To Make Mint Ice Cream” etc.
With the growth of consumer review sites and trends with social influence, people began searching for a “brand-name + reviews”, or a “product-name + reviews”, or even the creators or executives behind them, such as “brand + CEO”. Nowadays, people are accustomed to checking the validity of an information source, a business, or a person behind a company, and the results they see strongly influence their decisions as a consumer.
Today, over 80% of Internet users begin their session with a search engine, which makes sense because every mobile, tablet and smart device sold today is preinstalled with either Google or Bing by default.
- 3 Billion searches per day, amounting to over 1 Trillion searches per year, take place on Google alone.
- 55% of those searches are conducted by users with an “intent to buy” something.
- 97% of people research a products, services, and brands before making a purchase.
- 77% of search engine users never click past the first page of search results.