TV, Print Ads Trigger Online Searches

NEW YORK A new survey shows that television ads drive more than 40 percent of the searches conducted by people who use search engines such as Google every day.

The survey by iProspect and JupiterResearch, released Aug. 1, demonstrates that TV and other offline marketing channels “clearly influence a significant percentage of online searches,” particularly among people who search at least once a day.

Findings indicate the top three influencers of daily searchers were TV spots, at 44 percent; word of mouth from friends and acquaintances, 41 percent; and newspaper and magazine ads, 35 percent.

Among people who used search at least once a week, word of mouth came first, at 30 percent, followed closely by TV, newspaper and magazine ads, 25-28 percent.

The report also studied the difference between searchers who browse and those who buy. It asked searchers who were influenced by offline sources, which of those sources prompted them to make a purchase. The order was rearranged, with nearly one-third of purchases by searchers prompted by newspaper or magazine ads, one-third by word of mouth and about one-quarter by retail outlets. The TV ad and search combination accounted for 23 percent of the purchases. Respondents could pick more than one offline influencer.

The lesson for marketers? While the vast majority of online users is being driven to perform a search as a result of exposure to offline [ad] channels, “the majority of offline advertising does very little to facilitate the process,” according to the survey. “Rare, though extremely effective, are offline campaigns that overtly state, ‘Search keyword: Buick’ or ‘Google Maytag,’ sending online users to search results pages where searchers will find the marketers’ listing at the top of the search results,” the report states.

As for the role of search in people’s lives, the iProspect document reports 94 percent of online users have performed a search in the last year and 57 percent said search has become more important to them in the last year. About three-quarters of users 18-24 said search has grown more important to them. The survey was conducted in June 2007 among 2,322 U.S online users.