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Just catching up after a few weeks in North America at various conferences and internal meetings and I remembered a great presentation at SES New York by Jack Flanagan - EVP at comScore
It’s never easy to be given the whole stage to yourself at one of these events. Normally speakers are asked to be on a panel with others from the industry which makes it a little easier given the banter, chance to debate and the fact the spotlight isn’t fully on you for the duration.
Having said that, someone of Jack’s calibre was always going to delight!
The title of the presentation was “Searching for a Solution” and assessed the impact of the economy on the search landscape.
With consumer confidence at an all time low and, according to Jack’s company, two out of five people thinking the US economy would worsen in Q1 of this year, 80% of us are more afraid of our economic future than ever before!
Most of us are actually cutting back our spending and 53% of us are using coupons more often to help with the financial load.
Folks in the US are also hunting for bargains and better prices. 40% of the online population in America are using price comparison sites, a 5% rise in Q4 2008 compared with the same period the year before.
Bizarrely, 50% are saying they are spending more time online to combat the stress of the downturn – personally I go for a run when I’m stressed – but it does show how external factors are driving people online to browse more and to relax.
So what does this mean for your online presence and search engine marketing activity?
Well comScore’s data shows search engines are still important as consumers are getting more savvy and spending more time delving a little deeper to save cash. But what they are also doing is searching with an intent to purchase offline too. So brands have remember that even though a user may come to their site and browse their product or service, there is a good chance they might purchase in store or via the telephone to make sure they’re getting the very best price.
Just because we’re in a downturn it doesn’t mean all marketing should be shelved. The data shows people are still searching with intent to buy even if they spend a little less!
Jack also mentioned the importance of combining your Search & Display activity if you’re doing it. Check out Nick Drew’s Search & Display White Paper for some great research on that technique.
He closed with some very simple but important tips:
- Know your customer and their mindset
- Know the market
- Don’t under estimate the power of paid search
- Powerful combo with display advertising
- Be consistent
- Be patient
I remember when It Used To Be So Easy :-)
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It was interesting to note that more people are surfing the net due to the stress of the state of the economy. It would be interesting to know what site's they are going to. Are they surfing news sites to learn more about what's going on, or are they surfing job recruitment sites as they feel insecure about their jobs. Any deeper insights?