Infographic: Which channels do consumers use for information?

People have a plethora of options if they want to seek out information about companies or products on the web. They may turn to local search to find the address, hours or phone number of a store, or maybe they'll check out online review sites such as Yelp that provide personal anecdotes about user experiences. Brand websites, news articles and local internet marketing ads are additional ways people can connect to businesses on the web.

A recent infographic created by M Booth and Beyond and shared by Mashable looked deeper into how different product categories influence how people search for information. For example, researchers found that 91 percent of users who want advice about electronics visit the brand's website, as it's more likely to have accurate information about specs, memory and other specific features tech-junkies look for. However, forums were the research method of choice for 44 percent of automotive consumers, who may feel an ongoing conversation with other people who share the same interests will give them better insight on the right car to buy. In addition, it was found that 49 percent of people use Facebook when searching for restaurants.

This is because, according to a recent post on Bing's blog, 90 percent of people seek advice from friends or family as part of their decision-making process. The search engine recently used its partnership with Facebook to take advantage of this fact with its "Friend Effect" search, which allows for personalized search results based on friends' opinions when users are signed into the social network.

The authors of the infographic separated research products into categories, such as automotive, baby products, beauty, cookware, electronics, restaurants, personal finance, music and travel. They then listed a variety of online channels and ranked each category based on its channel influence.

It was found that users searching for baby products utilize both Facebook and forum comments the most, while search results were the most popular way to find travel information. Furthermore, car buyers preferred to use brand websites, while beauty product searchers found most of their information via news articles and blog posts.

Online ads were most popular for fashion searchers, while product review sites and Twitter were highly utilized by electronics shoppers.

Lastly, foursquare ranked as the top outlet for cookware searchers, while, predictably, YouTube was the go-to source for music searches.