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Search Engine Usage in North America

Research published by Enquiro

How do people search? What degree of loyalty do they have to any one search engine?

Enquiro, one of our SEMPO Supporter members who publishes great research throughout the year, has just finished an extensive survey conducted in Jan-Feb 2004. The survey had a total of 425 respondents, giving it a reasonable level of confidence. You can use this data to discuss potential search behavior with your clients.

Key findings:

  • There were distinct patterns in search engine usage related to gender, age, income and education.
  • Google users represent the "cream" of the online consumer base, with higher incomes, loyalty and levels of education.
  • Google users have much higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty with their search engine than non Google users.
  • About 70% of participants chose organic results when given two different search scenarios. Google users were the most likely to choose organic results.
  • Listings that offered a source of trusted and unbiased information were the clear favorite of users doing product research. This was particularly true with Google users.
  • Search queries are generally quite general amongst the majority of users. Queries are usually refined in an iterative process.
  • Search engines are much more likely to be used to research a purchase than to make the actual purchase. Over 60% of respondents said they would use a search engine to help research a buying decision, compared to only 20% who said they would use a search engine to help find an online site to purchase from.
  • Confusion about what is and isn't a sponsored link is still quite high and was found amongst 30% of search engine users. Google users were the least confused, MSN users the most confused.

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