Because of the drastic change in consumer behavior, searching on the Internet has come a long way.
Rather than using search engines solely to answer questions, we search for directions to the nearest store. Or, we look up customer reviews for products we're considering purchasing. We even have voice assistants to help with our searching!
Businesses need to ask themselves two questions: how are customers searching for my business and are they finding it at all?
Today, we're going to answer those questions as we look at the overall change in search habits of consumers.
Hyperlocal Search Will Continue to Rise
While consumers use websites to find or engage with businesses 63 percent of the time, they still rely strongly on search engines to find your business.
We've seen a steady increase in local search over the last few years and that's not slowing down anytime soon.
Many consumers don’t even use “near me” when looking for a local business anymore, simply because they already expect their search results to be localized.
And, when they search for a local business, your location and business hours are the most desired results.
If that doesn't convince you of the importance of being found locally through search engines, we don't know what will.
If you're having difficulty, Google's Local Services Ads (for home services businesses) and the new Facebook Local platform can help make it easier for consumers to find and interact with your business.
And, if you need any further help, we also have a dedicated local search marketing plan that can work for you!
We’re Seeing a Shift Towards Voice Search
We’ve mentioned the importance of smart speakers and optimizing your business for them. Now is the time to do so.
A large percentage of consumers use voice search every day, from 40 percent of adults to as much as 55 percent for teens. And, even if it’s not an everyday habit for others, at least 60 percent of people have used smart speakers or virtual assistants within the last few months.
So, what are consumers using voice search for?
Well, some people use voice search for just that: search! Not too long ago, 25 percent of all Bing searches were voice search.
Others, however, shop using their voice assistants. Many consumers use voice search to add items to their cart to look at later, but 57 percent of consumers have ordered an item through voice search.
Additionally, one-fourth of those consumers spend anywhere from $100 to $199 per purchase, so make sure your business is optimized for voice!
Consumers Are Always Looking for Reviews
We already know that reviews can make or break your business.
That's because customers really want to know what other people think about your business. In fact, 97 percent of customers who search for local businesses read online reviews to form an opinion.
More customers are also using the search terms "to avoid" and "is __ worth it?" on Google to steer clear of poorly reviewed businesses or products. We're all guilty of buyer's remorse, so rather than continue that trend, customers are researching thoroughly to ensure that they’re completely satisfied.
So, make sure your business is up-to-date with reviews and transparent about your products and services!
Mobile Search Is Still Prevalent
Have you ever noticed the number of people on their phones while shopping in a store?
Most likely, they're comparing prices of items online or reading reviews of products. This is nothing new and retailers like Target know this. In fact, they found that 75 percent of their digital shoppers start their consumer journey on mobile.
People would rather have the convenience and speed of searching on their mobile devices instead of using their computer.
So, where do consumers start their mobile search?
- 48 percent start on search engines
- 33 percent start on websites
- 26 percent start on apps
Because mobile search spending is expected to reach nearly $30 billion by 2019, businesses need to optimize their websites for mobile now.
Because new trends and technologies are constantly emerging, consumer behavior will never stay the same.
You must stay up-to-date with these trends, or you may miss out on reaching potential customers. Since search is just one aspect of consumer behavior that's going to change over this next year, be sure to stay tuned for new trends in consumer behavior throughout 2018.
To learn more about what we predict for 2018, check out these resources: