iProspect Releases Findings of Inaugural Research Study

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Reveals search behaviour of consumers and the role of search from awareness to purchase in 11 APAC markets

Search performance is enhanced when it is part of an integrated strategy with offline and other online communications.

iProspect, Aegis Media’s leading search marketing agency, has today released findings from the first ever regional study on 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, conducted amongst 15,000 APAC consumers across 11 markets: China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, reveals the growing importance of search, how APAC 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.

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 the region 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 71% of respondents have increased their search activity over the past 6 months.”

“The days of simply buying paid search as a search strategy at lower cost per click, have gone. A holistic strategy across all search assets is now vital for a brand to succeed at connecting with consumers via search,” he added.

The key findings for marketers are:

1. Search performance is enhanced when it is part of an integrated strategy with offline and other online communications:

Word of mouth is the most significant prompt to search, closely followed by TV and print advertising, although behaviour differs across the region with Japan, Thailand and South Korea more influenced by TV advertising.

2. APAC consumers are dramatically increasing their use of search as a means of navigating the web:

The majority of APAC consumers (77%) search the web via search engines several times a day. In the last six months there has been a net increase of 71% claiming to have increased their use.

3. Search across APAC should be carefully tailored across individual markets and will require the adoption of several search engines:

51% claim to use Google most frequently, but this varies dramatically within individual markets with Google attracting 9% in Korea versus 89% in New Zealand and India. APAC marketers need to develop comprehensive strategies for Baidu, Yahoo! and Naver as a minimum, in addition to Google. The research indicates that Microsoft’s Bing has struggled to build significant share in APAC.

4. Building top search listings in both organic and paid search is critical to driving awareness:

58% of consumers cannot distinguish between paid and organic search results. A focus on both is required to ensure brands/products receive adequate share of voice within results.

5. A range of content assets should be optimised within search to achieve best results:

78% of APAC consumers search for news/press release information, however, image search (65%) and video search (57%) are also very popular. Maps and locations were also heavily searched in a number of markets including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Malaysia. Search Leveraged PR (SLPR), content seeding, image and video optimisation and multi-variate testing are essential, in addition to paid search, to maximise search performance.

6. Mobile Search is a mainstream behaviour requiring integration into online search strategies:

79% of all consumers used mobile search in the last year. China, Thailand, India and South Korea are the largest users of mobile search. Those markets where mobile search is most used, also indicated that mobile search has become very important in the way they navigate the mobile web.

7. Search is an essential marketing channel for computer and electronics, entertainment, food and drink, banking and finance. 50% plus turn to search during the purchase process:

Computers and Electronics (66%), Entertainment (60%), Food and Drink (53%) and Banking and Finance (50%). Without an active search strategy across these and other categories, marketers are likely to lose consumers during the research and purchase process.

“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,” said Peter.

Nick Waters, CEO Aegis Media Asia Pacific, added, ”This survey further advances our understanding of how to connect consumers to brands. Applied with our knowledge of consumers' on and offline media behaviour, and responsiveness to messages, it enhances our development of effective communications strategies for our clients.”

** The whitepapers can be downloaded at http://www.iprospect.com
For further information please contact:

Peter Hunter    
iProspect APAC
Ph: +65 65014 968

About Aegis Media

Aegis Media’s five major brands are world-leading marketing and communications businesses:

  • Carat is the world’s largest independent media communications specialist present in 82 countries across the world
  • Isobar is a global communications agency with digital at its heart, dedicated to bringing people and brands together like never before
  • iProspect is the global leader in high performance search and digital communications programmes
  • Posterscope is the out-of-home sector leader, and the only truly global network, constantly pushing the technological boundaries
  • Vizeum, our challenger media brand, has a pioneering approach to communications

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Peter Hunter
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