iProspect, Aegis Media’s leading search marketing agency, today released findings from the first ever research study on Indian’s search behaviour and the role of search from awareness to purchase for consumers. iProspect partnered with Aevolve, Aegis Media’s specialist global insight and analytics division, to develop this online survey, and was fielded by Toluna (the leading global online panel provider).
The research reveals the growing importance of search, how Indian consumers use search and how marketers can best use search to drive better performance. The research also reveals the growing use of mobile search as consumers switch to smartphones.
“iProspect, as a world leader in Search, carries out extensive research and this is the first time India has been included in it. This is the most meaningful research in India on Search and I am sure all of our iProspect clients in India will benefit from it. I am very pleased with the way iProspect India has taken off and this will certainly propel it further,” added Ashish Bhasin, Chairman India & CEO South East Asia – Aegis Media.
Shamsuddin Jasani, Country Head iProspect India, said “This research clearly highlights the role search plays in the path to purchase, confirming that integration between media, search and online is vital. We need to work with brands to connect consumers with the content they require, whether that be a store location and opening hours, changes in interest rates, or consumer product reviews.”
In India the key findings for Marketers are:
Indian consumers will become the most prolific users of the Internet in APAC and leaders in the use of mobile search:
82% of Indian consumers reported using search more than 3 times a day, which is higher than the APAC average of 77.4%. 92.0% use search at least once a day. Indian consumers’ use of search on a daily basis or more is higher than any market in APAC. In the last year search has become more important to 93.6% of consumers. Indian consumers’ use of mobile search is also prolific. Only 10% of consumers have not used mobile search, with 67% reporting that mobile search has become more important to them in the last 12 months. A significant increase in the use and importance of search to Indian consumers will provide market growth and a sustained return on investment as consumers increase their use of search to research and buy goods and services.
Search performance is enhanced when it is part of an integrated strategy with offline and other online communications:
Newspaper and Magazine advertising is the most significant prompt to search (68.9%). Followed by TV (63.0%) and online display (61.7%). Word of mouth is also an important prompt for search with 51.0% of consumers searching on recommendations made by friends and family. Young consumers (15-24) were particularly influenced by word of mouth and TV advertising, compared to the broader consumer profile. Traditional media is a strong source of searches in India and marketers can increase consumer response through complimentary search strategies.
Google has an unchallenged market share leadership in India:
89.4% of consumers in India prefer Google as their most used search engine, followed by Yahoo! with a 7.5% share and Bing’s 2.4% position. It is unlikely that Yahoo! or Bing will make significant gains on their positions. Regardless, Marketers are advised to operate search strategies across all of the three search engines given India’s size and the ongoing growth in the demand for search.
Building top search listings in both organic and paid search is critical to driving awareness:
48.7% of Indian consumers cannot distinguish between paid and organic search results. This is a result of a lack of consumer knowledge about paid search and search engines not clearly identifying paid versus organic listings. A focus on both is required to ensure brands/products receive an adequate share of voice.
A range of content assets should be optimised within search to achieve best results:
73.9% of Indians search for images, followed by music (69.2%) – more than any market in APAC – News/Press Releases (66.0%) and videos (58%). Marketers will improve search performance by using a variety of web content formats and carefully optimising them across their sites and social media campaigns to attract consumers through different search behaviours. Advanced search practices such as Search Leveraged PR (SLPR), content seeding, image and video optimisation, local search and multivariate testing are essential, in addition to paid search, to maximise search performance.
Mobile Search is mainstream behaviour in India:
Only 10% of Indian consumers have not used mobile search. 67% agree that mobile search has become more important with only 6% disagreeing. Marketers should consider this when writing copy and prompts to action within search listings. One of the key drivers of mobile search is the adoption of smartphone handsets with smartphone usage growing exponentially. We believe mobile search will outgrow PC based search in India over the medium term.
Search is an essential marketing channel for Computers & Electronics, Education, Entertainment, Telecommunications, Banking & Finance and Gaming. 50% plus turn to search during the purchase process:
A large number of India consumers buy directly online from sites they have searched across many categories – Computer and Electronics (78.4%), Education (71.8%), and Entertainment (65.5%). Search is used to gather information (60%) and compare pricing and features (80%). Consumers are up to three times more likely to purchase directly from a website they have found through search than a site they find through another means.
Peter Hunter, CEO iProspect Asia Pacific, said, “The driver to initiate this research was that up until now there had not been any solid data in Asia Pacific or India on the role of search in the total media mix, or indeed data to back the role of search in the purchase process. A brand can no longer afford to omit search from their media mix given 82% of Indian consumers use search more than 3 times a day.”