A recent report issued by Autobytel, based on findings from a poll of 1,001 US adults conducted by Kelton Research, examined “The State of Search” and how automobile shoppers interact with search engines in particular. Below I excerpt some of the general search findings from the report. The big takeaway is in the headline above: 7 out of 10 Americans experience what the report describes as “search engine fatigue.”
Here are the top-level findings, which the report asserts are based on a representative sample of US adults:
–72.3 percent of Americans experience “search engine fatigue” (either “always,” “usually,” or “sometimes”) when researching a topic on the Internet.
–65.4 percent of Americans say they’ve spent two or more hours in a single sitting searching for specific information on search engines.
–More than three out of four (75.1 percent) of those who experience search engine fatigue report getting up and physically leaving their computer without the information they were seeking – either “always,” “usually” or “sometimes.”
The report discusses user frustration with clutter and the content of search results:
When asked to name their #1 complaint about the process, 25 percent cited a deluge of results, 24 percent cited a predominance of commercial (paid) listings, 18.8 percent blamed the search engine’s inability to understand their keywords (forcing them to try again), and 18.6 percent were most frustrated by disorganized/random results.
There was also a desire among many users that search engines be able to “read their minds”:
Kelton asked survey respondents whether they wished that search engines like Google could, in effect, read their minds, delivering the results they were actually looking for. . . That capability is something that 78 percent of all survey-takers “wished” for, including 86.2 percent of 18-34 year-olds and 85 percent of those under 18.
That sounds like an argument for search personalization. Here’s the press release that reflects some of the data and report’s primary findings.