Throughout 2005, the year after the company went public on NASDAQ, Google commissioned multiple research agencies to run analysis on the importance of Internet search and search advertising in purchasing decisions across a variety of verticals. While part of this research – which the company probably still orders considering how important the business continues to be for Google’s bottom line – eventually finds its way to the Google AdWords product page, it’s interesting to gain some insight into what kind of studies the search giant commissioned and which conclusions the research agencies pulled from the data gathered from direct consumer surveys and other means.
Below are some screenshots from internal documents used by Google to gauge the importance of keyword search in purchasing decisions for industries like B2B technology, logistics, travel, healthcare, entertainment and more which we got our hands on. Bear in mind that this data is relatively old, with some of the research going back as far as March 2005. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating look at how Google looks at its own core business and how it apparently uses the information weeded out by research agencies to better market AdWords and related services to the verticals cited above.
Below is a screenshot of a graph used in an internal Google presentation, showing survey data collected by Global Market Insite and Media Screen. The research agencies had conducted 300 web-based interviews with consumers that use the Web to research and/or purchase telecom services. In this case, they demonstrated that portals and retail shopping sites were rarely visited first by the surveyed persons when going online to research telecommunication services. 64% went to a search engine first, double the amount of people who answered that they’d visit the website of a telecom service provider before anything else.
The second chart lifted from the docs reveals the agencies also found that more than 70% of all survey respondents preferred Google for their product searching needs over other engines.
For the Beauty vertical, the survey also yielded some insightful data on which other influential information sources respondents indicated as important to them when purchasing beauty products on the Web. Topping the list were Print (49%) and TV (46%), closely followed by search engines searches and POS displays in stores (both 43%). Sponsored links in search results was surprisingly low in the list, with 12% of respondents saying it’s an important resource for them when buying skin care products, fragrances etc.
Google also researched why people use search engines, in this case with regards to people who browse the Web in search for health-related information. The results are likely similar for most major search engines, but what I found noteworthy – considering the topic of health – is that these persons definitely don’t use search engines primarily because they consider them to be trustworthy or sources for objective information.
Here are some embeds of full documents, namely research conducted on the B2B tech, entertainment and travel verticals.