Brand Bias: 70% Of Consumers Look For Known Retailers When Doing Product Searches

surveymonkey-sel-logosNew research from Search Engine Land and SurveyMonkey shows that consumers have a definite brand bias when it comes to searching for products online.

According to data from a survey conducted last month, almost 70 percent of US consumers said they look for a “Known retailer” when deciding what search results they click on. That was the most popular response, followed by “Free shipping” and then “Discount or sale offer.”

Respondents were able to choose up to three answers to the question, What is most important in helping you decide which results to click on in a search engine search?

The top two replies were the only ones chosen by more than 50 percent of the 400+ consumers that took the survey. Rounding out the top five are “Image and price is shown” and “Review stars.”

Here’s the full chart showing each response:


The survey was conducted on November 21-22, 2013 by Search Engine Land and SurveyMonkey. Results were collected with a 95 percent confidence interval and a 5 percent margin of error from more than 400 Americans using SurveyMonkey Audience.

Where Consumers Search For Gifts: Google & Amazon

We also asked the group of consumers which sites they plan to use this year when searching online for gifts. Perhaps not surprisingly, Google and Amazon were the runaway choices at 67 percent and 66 percent, respectively. They were the only two sites to be named by more than a quarter of consumers. Ebay ranked third with 24 percent.

But surprising to me, at least, was the strong showing of both Groupon and Etsy. Groupon was named by 13 percent of respondents and Etsy by almost 12 percent, meaning both sites scored higher than Pinterest and Bing. Shopping comparison engines Shopzilla, Nextag, Pricegrabber and Bizrate were the lowest scorers.


Over on Marketing Land today, Greg Sterling shares some of the survey data regarding smartphone use and mobile shopping, as well as what consumers say they’re looking for in a mobile shopping website, in his article Survey: Majority Use Smartphones In Stores, Not For E-Commerce.

Summary of Findings & Complete Survey Data

Related coverage of the survey results: 

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Features: General | Google | Microsoft: Bing | Pinterest | Search Engines: Deals & Coupon Search Engines | Search Engines: Shopping Search Engines | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • George Michie

    Interesting data, Matt. Brand bias is a rational human reaction. Faced with a myriad of choices brand recognition allows us to narrow the field quickly based on our own past experiences, reputation, and to a lesser degree the brand’s marketing message. Brands are built over years and decades. We’ve had experiences managing well known brand search programs as well as separate websites set up by the same company selling the same merchandise at lower prices but under a “new” name. The new website’s simply can’t compete. Poor CTR and conversion rates for the unknown website make it unable to compete even though it sells the same stuff at a better price. Brand matters.

  • Nicole Miller

    As internet consumer’s, we’re often told to buy from only well-known online establishments, so I wonder how much (or how little) online security played a role in these answers. My guess is that it played a big role… more so than branding.

  • Durant Imboden

    It’s interesting (but, IMHO, not surprising) that “social media conversations” ranked so low in the survey.

    As for the 70% figure for “known retailers,” I’m surprised that the percentage wasn’t even higher.

  • Movie Munce

    I always stick with companies I know and trust. If I need a product/service in an unfamiliar industry, where I don’t know any of the companies, I go with the one that advertises online. I figure, if you can pay for a solid PPC campaign on my generic, non-branded keywords, then you are probably a legitimate business.

  • Tom Goodwin

    What people SAY influences their purchasing behavior is not always a good indicator of what actually does. There is also a great deal that goes into acquiring “known retailer” status (time & money). Free Shipping beating discounts is the stand out story for me here…

  • George Michie

    But Brand plays a role in that. I know that Bed Bath and Beyond isn’t going to steal from me. They’re a real company, with real assets and a reputation to be tarnished. “Joe’s Sheets” I don’t know and don’t trust. Brand recognition is more valuable in this, I think, than Verisign.

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