8-Word Search Queries Up 34,000% in Last 5 Years!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, we might want to start scanning-in images of what we’re trying to find on the search engines. As new data from Hitwise suggests, we’re gradually starting to use more & more keywords when conducting our search engine queries.

Hitwise compared January 2009’s data with last year’s, but I want to take you back farther in time–5 years in fact! Not that my memory goes back that far, but I did remember covering this data for my old blog: Search Engine Lowdown.

Here are the numbers from this year, with Feb 2004’s numbers in parentheses:

1-word searches = 20.29% (19.02%)

2-word searches = 23.65% (32.58%)

3-word searches = 21.92% (25.61%)

4-word searches = 14.89% (12.83%)

E-tailers Rank Highest for Customer Satisfaction

E-consultancy reports that a recent study conducted by the UK National Customer Satisfaction Index scored retailers, e-commerce reported a stunning score of 82 points for Q4 2008 (out of 100). Why is this news so interesting? Because the average retailer customer satisfaction score is 74.8.

Amazon and Play.com helped e-commerce separate itself from the rest by posting 85 and 87 satisfaction scores. I had a feeling Amazon would be ranked high on this list, but I’m really surprised to see Play.com achieve such a high customer satisfaction level. I haven’t personally played around with their site too much, but hopefully this will give them some much deserved attention in the conversion-world for their great work.

Facebook, MySpace Become Mainstream Marketing Vehicles

By David Lindop

Is it time to rethink who we market to on the social networking giants?

What do you think the average age of a MySpace and Facebook user is? Perhaps 16 for MySpace and 22 for Facebook?

According to AdAge, new reports from comScore suggest that over 50% of American Facebook users, and 44% of MySpace users, are actually over 35 years old. It goes further to confirm the largest age demographic on both of these social media platforms is now between 35 and 44.


Ballmer Stunned Bartz Won’t Sell Search

*pfffoooo!* Pardon the dust, folks. Just have to clean off this old story. . . . There. So, it looks like Steve Ballmer is still—still—interested in buying Yahoo search. Just one short year (plus three weeks) after an initial offer to buy out the company, and all the drama that followed, Ballmer is still pining away—and his desire is apparently completely unrequited.

Last November, Ballmer was saying purchasing the search portion of Yahoo would be “interesting.” This week, he’s “very interested in getting some kind of deal going in search still,” according to CNBC, and without them “Microsoft has no search strategy to speak of” (ouch!). Or, as we put it last month:

Twitter Fires Up the Spotlight

twitter-logo1Last month Twitter launched its ‘suggested users’ feature and the impact on those who were put on Twitter’s red carpet has been significant. Some of these profiles saw tens of thousands of additional followers added to their own personal profiles which created some very happy folks and, you guessed it, some not so happy people. The LA Times Tech blog has all the details but here are the high points.

Evan Williams and Biz Stone, co-founders of Twitter put this feature into place last month. When users sign up for a new account (which is happening at a dizzying pace) they are given a list of suggested users to follow. The folks at Twitter were noticing that many folks were signing up then not using the service. The hope by offering this was to get the newbies in the game. Makes sense to me since Twitter can be somewhat daunting for those beyond the early adopter / social media savvy part of the population.

Riding the Buying Cycle to Online Sales Growth in a Recession

It won’t come as much of a shock to learn that 48% of online shoppers plan to spend less this year, thanks to the recession. The good news is that 61% of online consumers admit that they’ll likely be persuaded to make a purchase by customer reviews and ratings.

For me, the most useful information to be gleaned from the Bazaarvoice/JupiterResearch study is the confirmation of just how important it is for etailers to target every stage of the buying cycle–not just the “buying” stage. I often tell web site owners that consumers typically follow a buying cycle which can be condensed down to just three stages–for easy recall.

B2B Buyers Dig Social Media

A new report from Forrester Research, outlined by Groundswell, takes a look at how B2B buyers interact with social media—and by and large, they’re more engaged than their average peers.

The report breaks down the use of social media by Social Technographic role by type of social media involvement (types explained in this PPT):

The “Overall” column indicates what percentage of those surveyed fell into that type of social media activity. Note that, obviously, there is overlap between roles—Creators, who generate online content, can also be Critics, who leave blog comments, etc.

Takeaways here:

  • 91% of these decision-makers consume social media including blogs, video, and customer reviews.
  • 69% of Spectators use social media for business purposes.
  • 55% of the B2B buyers in this survey are Joiners—they’ve created profiles on social networks.