Enquiro Releases Study on Business to Business (B2B) Purchasing Behavior

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Enquiro's research paper shows that when it comes to business to business buying decisions, online influences such as vendor websites, search engines, and industry information websites are surpassing offline influences such as word-of-mouth and trade publications.

Enquiro has made the results of its 2007 B2B Survey available to the public as a free download through its website. The recently published whitepaper gives marketers information about influencing factors in business to business buying decisions.

The objective of the survey, conducted with over 1000 B2B buyers, was to discover how people research B2B buying decisions online and how this varies by role within a company and by purchase phase. How do people navigate from awareness, through research and negotiation phases to the actual purchasing decision? What is the balance between online and offline influences? Do purchasers use search engines, and if so, which search engines and why? Do they use specific B2B search engines? When do they refer to a vendor's site or an industry information site and what do they look for specifically?

Enquiro's survey data shows that when it comes to business to business buying decisions, online influences such as vendor websites, search engines, and industry information websites are surpassing offline influences such as word-of-mouth and trade publications. Also, nearly 70% of users use search engines as a primary research resource, and Google remains the first choice for B2B purchasing research. As purchasers enter the later research phase and start compiling information to begin the actual negotiation, many rely on B2B vertical search engines to help gather the detailed information they require. To compare, in the researching phase, a purchaser is five times more likely to turn to a generic search engine for information. However, as the purchaser moves from researching to negotiating, that gap closes, where nearly a third will look to vertical search engines such as business.com or KnowledgeStorm. Other sources of heavily relied upon information included industry websites, distributor websites and offline channels such as trade journals and other industry publications.

Additionally, the survey looked at B2B user interaction with search engine results pages. The observed click through patterns were remarkably consistent with results from previous studies such as the 2006 Enquiro Eye Tracking Report II: Google, MSN and Yahoo! Compared. The top four organic listings captured 52.6% of all the click throughs, with the number one organic result capturing 27.1%. Position again proves to be important in the sponsored listings, with the top pay-per-click ad capturing twice the number of click throughs as the number two ad (7.4% versus 3.4%).

The B2B survey has been supported by MarketingSherpa which was also a partner for Enquiro's 2004 paper titled The Role of Search in Business to Business Buying Decisions. A newly added sponsor for this follow-up study is ZoomInfo. Further information on Enquiro's B2B research as well as free access to the 51-page whitepaper is available through Enquiro's website.

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Andrew Spoeth
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