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Web Searches Lead the Way

The world has changed, and so has shopping and the way marketers reach shoppers, said Dan Schock, retail industry director for Google Inc.

The world has changed, and so has shopping and the way marketers reach shoppers, said Dan Schock, retail industry director for Google Inc.

This story first appeared in the March 11, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A few of the dramatic statistics:

• There are now 6 million searches a minute, about 25 percent of those in the U.S. alone. • There are more than 1 billion e-mail accounts worldwide.

• 50 percent of broadcast television is now available online.

• “Everyone” is on Facebook. (In fact, about a quarter of the U.S. population uses the service.)

• In the next few years, sales of online goods will reach $200 billion annually.

In the past, a consumer might read a magazine then go into a store and buy something. now the “purchase funnel” is completely different. new “discovery elements” include youtube, chatting with friends on digg, using search engines and reading user reviews. “The internet is not just about commerce. it’s about communication,” said schock. the actual purchase could take place on or off-line.

“The way that people are consuming media has changed, so for those of us in marketing, our ability to reach those people through advertising and other marketing has certainly changed significantly over the past 10 years,” he said.

Search is now a “core behavior” online. it’s where people start their quest, whether they are looking for information or entertainment, he said.

The nature of search itself has also changed. in the past two years, the number of queries used on Google has increased by 50 percent.

People are no longer searching using just one or two words. increasingly, they are searching using descriptions such as “skinny jeans i saw on ‘Gossip Girl’ last night,” he said.

In the fourth quarter, Google sent more than 1 billion people to retail sites. there were over 40 million searches for jeans in the month of January alone. searches for commodity items such as eyeliner are also increasing. the use of the word “eyeliner” has increased 20 percent over the last two years, he said.

Brands use search for customer acquisition and to foster loyalty as well as brand awareness, he said. important new aspects of search include video, image search, localization, personalization and mobile.

In particular, searches on mobile phones have increased 3 percent so far over last year, he said.