Three Mindsets of Search

Table of Contents
Methodology............................................................ Page 4

Top Findings & Insights........................................... Page 5
Understanding Search Types.................................. Page 9 Everyone Engages in All Three Types of Search.... Page 17 The Expansion of the Definition of Expertise........... Page 21

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Methodology

Methodology
About.com’s “Three Mindsets of Search” research study was conducted in conjunction with Latitude with a national sample of 928 Americans, age 21-54/HHI $50,000+. This online

qualitative survey followed an initial qualitative series of 22 in-depth phone interviews,
followed by a 20-member innovation panel responding through self-recorded video and an online survey. All participants in the qualitative phase were recruited through a national sample of Americans age 21-54/HHI $50,000+. The “search type” segmentation encompassed 59 variables of search behavior, and was developed through cluster analysis. The study was conducted between March 7 and June 2, 2011.

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Top Findings and Insights

Top Findings & Insights
Study revealed three distinct search types:
1. Answer Me (46% of all searches) – People in a “answer me” search want exactly what they ask for, and no more, delivered in a way that allows them to get to it as directly as possible. 2. Educate Me (26% of all searches) – People in an “educate me” search want 360 degrees of understanding, and multiple perspectives on critical topics. They will search until their goal is achieved – this may stretch over long periods of time and through related topics.

3. Inspire Me (28% of all searches) – The fun “browsy” type of search, where people are looking for surprises, have open minds and want to be led.

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Top Findings & Insights
Study also revealed the meaning of “expertise” is evolving. The meanings depend on the search type, search category and search intensity. • 96% of those surveyed include self-taught “allies” with deep experience and motivation. • 87% of those surveyed include traditional credentialed experts, who are formally educated.

• 89% of those surveyed include the wisdom of crowds; other experienced users in social or outside networks.

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Top Findings & Insights

• People’s behaviors, needs and preferences in the offline world drive their behaviors and preferences online.

• Understanding how human behavior affects patterns in search behaviors can help marketers understand and connect with the people that use their products

• The right kind of advertising could be the expertise people are looking for

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Understanding Search Types

Three Search Types Identified

Answer Me

26%
46%
Educate Me

28%
Inspire Me
% of all searches

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Answer Me (46%)
“It’s 8:15 AM. I’m in from out of town on a business trip. Where’s the closest Starbucks?”
• Mindset: “Give me what I want, nothing more, nothing less.”
o People in a “answer me search” want the right information in a setting that allows them to get to it as directly as possible – no extra info needed!

• Despite the speed of a Answer Me search, not all are urgent
o “What’s that actor’s name again?”

• Top Categories:
1. Entertainment
2. Fashion/Beauty/Style

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How marketers can capitalize on an Answer Me moment
Keep product benefits front and center in messaging Align with content that presents quick, easy-tofind answers

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Educate Me (26%)
“Does it still make sense for me to buy a home?”
• Mindset: “Help me understand the things that matter most - don’t spare any details.”
o Educate me searches are about things that are important. People are looking for a 360o understanding.

• Educate Me searches usually span longer periods of time and many different sites
o People in an “educate me” search will search until goal is achieved – this may stretch over long periods of time and through related topics

• Top Categories
1. 2. Health Finance

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How marketers can connect with people in an Educate Me mindset
Messaging that’s informative and provides opportunity to learn more about the topic from multiple angles Align with content that presents in-depth information and resources

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Inspire Me (28%)
“Where can I go on safari with my husband?”
• Mindset: “Excite and inspire me about the things I love, but I have an open mind and am ready to be led”
o People in a inspire me search want to be “taken somewhere”

• Despite the “relaxed” state of an “Inspire Me” search, it can be always on.
o People often search on the same two or three topics when they get a spare moment.

• Top Categories:
1. 2. Travel Home & Garden

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How marketers can connect with people in an Inspire Me mindset
Align with content that inspires creativity and offers endless choices Too many ideas are never enough! People will consume inspiration content in multiple formats on the same topic as long as it excites their imagination

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Everyone Engages in All Types of Search

Types of searches are not gender-specific

105 95 94

103

96

100

Men Women

Answer Me

Educate Me

Inspire Me

Index vs. Total Respondents (100 = average)

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And are largely not age-specific, either

106 94

110 102 98 90

Age 21-34

Age 35-54

Answer Me

Educate Me

Inspire Me

Index vs. Total Respondents (100 = average)

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Income plays a factor in Answer Me searches
Higher income Americans are significantly more likely to engage in “Answer me” searches, but they also conduct “educate me” and “inspire me” searches.
HHI $50K-$99.9K HHI $100K+

174

97

105

102 97

52

Answer Me

Educate Me

Inspire Me

Index vs. Total Respondents (100 = average)

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The Expansion of the Definition of Expertise

The definition of Expertise is Expanding
The concept of expertise has evolved from what it once was and people now want guidance from a range of “experts”.

96%
The “Ally”

Stephanie Gallagher
Guide to Cooking for Kids Mother of two and an award-winning food writer whose passion is cooking delicious, healthy foods that kids will enjoy.

89%
Social/ Wisdom of Crowds

87%
Credentialed Experts

Vincent Iannelli, M.D.
Guide to Pediatrics Practicing board certified pediatrician, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is the author of The Everything Father's First Year Book.

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Different Experts Are Valuable in Different Types of Search

Answer Me
Experts less important

Educate Me
Credentialed Experts, Some Allies

Inspire Me
Allies and social sources

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Consumers can see Brands as Experts
Advertising can be the expertise people are looking for, as long as it is the right kind.

88%

The best ads are the ones that work with the information source to help you get what you need

86%

I notice and enjoy when brands stop trying to sell you something and focus on teaching something

77%

Ads can be useful when they’re very relevant to my search

64%

Ads have helped me find great options, deals or discounts

% respondents agreeing with statement

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Rethinking Campaigns

Evolving Attitudes Towards Advertising

+

Expanded Definition of Experts

+

People’s Search Patterns

A real opportunity for Marketers to think about campaigns in a whole new light

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Contact Us For Further Information

Meredith Worsham
Manager of Communications, the About Group mworsham@about.com 212.204.2617 @AboutGroupPR

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Who we are
About The About Group The About Group comprises the Web sites About.com, ConsumerSearch.com and CalorieCount.com. About.com is a valuable platform for content that helps users solve the large and small needs of everyday life. ConsumerSearch.com analyzes expert and usergenerated consumer product reviews and recommends the best products to purchase based on the findings. CalorieCount.com is an online resource that helps users solve the everyday challenges of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.

About Latitude For nearly two decades, Latitude Research has helped leading media companies anticipate and take advantage of new technologies – and associated shifts in audience behaviors – to deliver new, engaging forms of content and advertising. With deep expertise in advertising effectiveness research, Latitude works regularly with clients such as ESPN, Food Network, MTV Networks, NBC Universal, Yahoo! and About.com to measure the impact of multiplatform (web, mobile, and TV) campaigns and guide future campaign development.

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