27 Mar 2011

Three in Four Online Surfers Visit a Retail Website

The number of online surfers in Europe who visit a retail website is increasing. A survey from Comscore shows that in January 2011, 270.6 million unique visitors in Europe visited a retail website, which is equal to a market penetration of 74.5 per cent of Internet users. Retail websites also show high penetration in the different European markets, reaching at least 75 per cent of the total online audience in 7 out of 18 European countries. Last year (2010) close to 1 in 10 Internet sessions in Europe included a visit to a retail website.

United Kingdom is ahead
United Kingdom has the highest penetration of any European market. Retail websites are visited by 9 in 10 of the total online audience. France is second with 87 per cent, followed by Germany with 82.1 per cent.

Reach of Retail Sites in European Countries
Country                 Jan-10         Jan-11         Average minuts 
pr visits
United Kingdom      83,2%89,4% 84,1
France 76,4%87,0% 83,2
Germany 73,1%82,1% 63,8
Ireland    64,9%80,7%35,7
Netherlands  75,3% 80,2%50,2
Spain  68,4% 76,7%39,7
Denmark  68,2% 75,1%40,6
Sweden     73,8% 73,6%43,7
Norway  66,7% 73,4%38,8
Belgium     71,7% 73,3%29,7
Switzerland  70,3% 73,2%34,5
Poland     N/A 72,4%20,4
Austria  61,6% 71,4%34,1
Turkey     68,0% 69,8%73,0
Italy  67,4% 69,5%21,4
Finland     63,8% 66,5%29,8
Portugal  60,2% 65,9%23,9
Russia     43,1% 59,0%33,7
Europe     66,0% 74,5%52,4
Source: Comscore (March 2011)

Clothes are popular
Apparel sites are still very popular online, you could call the online bestseller. European shoppers were spending an average of 23.3 minutes shopping clothes in January 2011. Fashion sites also have the highest percentage of page views in retail, accounting for 21.6 per cent of retail pages viewed in January.

Top Retail Categories in Europe by Per Cent Reach           Reach       Average minutes 
    pr visitor
Comparison Shopping 31,6%         5,9
Apparel  28,4%        23,3
Consumer Electronics 27,1%        14,1
Computer Hardware  22,2%        17,4
Computer Software 15,9%           6,3
Source: Comscore (March 2011)

See press release from Comscore.

20 Mar 2011

SEO Is Better Than SEM

The hard daily work to get your keywords ranked in search engines like Google and Bing is worth the effort. An eye-tracking study by User Centric reveals that organic search results are far superior to paid ads on search engines.

100% look at the organic result
The research shows that users overlook paid ads but organic search results are viewed 100 per cent of the time and users spend an average of 14.7 seconds on Google and 10.7 seconds on Bing looking at organic search results. The paid ads are dong lousy. Just 28 per cent of the users look at the right-side ads on Google, and just 21 per cent do the same on Bing.

Where users are looking for information           Google   Bing
Organic search result 100%      100%
Ads in the right-side     28%        21%
Ads above organic search result    90%        90%
Source: User Centric (January 2011)

It’s not all bad for SEM (Search Engine Marketing) because about 90 per cent look at the ads above the organic results. So in your online marketing mix you might want to pay a little extra to be on top of the search result that right to the search result.

User Centric was in its research looking in to five areas of interest: sponsored results at the top, sponsored results to the right of the organic search results, organic search results, left pane, and on-hover flyouts (which is only used by Bing).

See press release from User Centric.

13 Mar 2011

Search Phrases Are Getting Shorter

Nearly half (47,52%) of the web searched in the U.S. consist of only one or two words, according to Experian Hitwise which has examined 10 million U.S. web searches in four weeks ending February 26 2011. The longer search queries of five to eight words have become less frequent.

Number of words                January 2011   February 2011         Month over month 
        percentage change
One word 23,39%23,86% 2%
Two words 23,59%23,66% 0%
Three words 19,99%19,91% 0%
Four words    13,71%13,57%-1%
Five words  8,28% 8,15%-2%
Six words  4,62% 4,52%-2%
Seven words  2,58% 2,52%-2%
Eight or more words     3,85% 3,80%-1%
Source: Experian Hitwise (March 2011)

This means that when you are doing your search engine optimization (SEO) you have to make sure your keywords are spot on. Customers are using shorter search phrases, hence, you have to make sure the customer can find you when only searching for one word. Yes, it can be done, but it's not easy.

See press release from Experian Hitwise.

12 Mar 2011

Bing Is Growing - Slowly

Google is still the undisputed king of the search engines. No doubt about that, but Microsoft's Bing seems to be gaining ground. According to Experian Hitwise Bing is the search engine which has improved most from January to February 2011. Experian has examined 10 million U.S. web searches in four weeks ending February 26 2011 and Bing has improved the most while Google is slowly losing ground.

Percent of all U.S. searches among leading search engines                January     2011   February 2011  Month over month percentage change
Google 67,95%66,69%-2%
Bing-powered searches 27,44%28,48% 4%
Yahoo 14,62%14,99% 3%
Bing    12,81%13,49% 5%
Source: Experian Hitwise (March 2011)

More people are using Bing. And Bing seems also successful in providing a useful search result which is basically why people are using search engines in the first place.

Success rate among search engines           January 2011   February 2011
Yahoo 81,38%81,51%
Bing 81,54%81,27%
Google 65,58%65,80%
Source: Experian Hitwise (March 2011)

When people makes a search on Yahoo or Bing more than 81 per cent of the searches result in a visit to a web page. Google achieved a success rate of only 66 per cent. This means that a third of the searches on Google doesn't result in a visit to a web page.

Optimize for Bing
Many e-commerce marketers have just done search engine optimisation (SEO) in order to perform well on Google. The numbers mentioned above mean that we should begin to take Bing seriously. If you do it now it might give you an advantage because you have optimized to Bing before everybody else and accordingly be ranked higher.

See press release from Experian Hitwise.

5 Mar 2011

Shoppers Don't Understand Why Brands Use Social Media

All brands, well at least brands with a minimum of self-respect, have a Facebook fanpage. Some companies might even have a Twitter profile or otherwise be working with social media. But according to Shoppercentric, this might not be such a great idea. Well, the idea is great, but regrettably, the consumers can't really see the point.

Shoppers prefer the shop
33 per cent of the consumers don't understand why brands are using social media (having a Facebook fanpage etc.) compared to 18 per cent saying they don't understand why retailers use social media. Dare we conclude that customers will rather communicate with the high street shop than the brand's head office in some remote place - at least when talking about social media.

Reason to use social media           Why shoppers think
companies do it
  What shoppers want
from companies
Sell products 54%26%
See what customers are saying 34%23%
Find info about their customers 29%24%
To stand out from their competitors    25%18%
To connect with people 25%23%
To bring the brand to life 23%20%
To tell med something new 22%32%
To help me have some fun  7%12%
Source: Shoppercentric (February 2011)

The retailers' websites are more popular
It's not only the retailer's Facebook page which is more popular than the page from the brand's head office. The online shopper will rather visit the retailer's website than the brand's website. Again local is better than global.

Shoppers might not always see the great idea behind a company's online presence but they do visit both our social media pages and our websites. Thank Good. The purpose why shoppers visit a social media page and website is nonetheless quite different.

Reason for contacting companies           Website   Social media
To make a purchase 63%6%
Researching 59%10%
News about products 51%13%
Find the best price    55%8%
Get loyalty award 44%7%
Reviews 43%12%
Offers, discounts, vouchers 43%10%
To make a complaint 42%6%
To get news    38%11%
See what others have bought 26%15%
Share thoughts, join a forum 14%29%
To fell part of a group 12%32%
Source: Shoppercentric (February 2011)

One in ten who follow a brand on Facebook is doing it in order to get a discount, exclusive price or to participate in a competition or to get news. Only 6 per cent do it to make a purchase which shows that Facebook isn't a place of commerce but a place of social interaction.

Read Windows on shopping in evolution by Shoppercentric.