Report: Quantifying Search’s Offline Impact is Crucial

Sixty-two percent of Internet users who researched products online during the holiday season used a search engine to do so, and nearly half (47 percent) of researchers ended up buying offline. That’s according to a report released by iProspect and conducted by JupiterResearch, which points to marketers’ need to track the results of search marketing at the retail level.

If marketers’ don’t account for these offline conversions, they’re unable to determine the effectiveness of their search spend and can’t budget accordingly.

“It’s the minority of companies that are tracking offline conversions,” said Rob Murray, president of iProspect. “It dramatically impacts the amount of money people budget for these campaigns.”

Although the researchers couldn’t quantify how many marketers track offline conversions, they noted that it’s rare for an offline retailer to ask shoppers if they used a search engine for research. Offering a discount online that could be redeemed in-store is also infrequently used as a tracking method.

Search engines were one of the most popular destinations for Internet users doing online research. Sixty-two percent search on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. Only merchant sites were more popular, with 63 percent using them. Manufacturer sites only saw 30 percent of researchers.

Interestingly, the study found that 26 percent of Internet users visit shopping-specific engines, such as Froogle, to research products.

“I think we will continue to see a verticalization of search. At the end of the day users want relevant, fast results,” said Murray. “The adoption rate will be dictated by the quality of results in the shopping portals.”

The study, fielded in January, was based on a survey of more than 1700 people randomly selected from the Ipsos U.S. consumer panel.

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