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Search engines, social networking driving traffic to websites: Study

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Search engines, social networking driving traffic to websites: Study

Research shows that social networking sites, email services and search engines are amongst the top three sources of traffic for many industries in India.

Experian Services India Pvt Ltd, a leading market research company, monitors and provides daily insights on how Internet users interact with websites. The company surveyed the online behaviour of the population of India in different industry categories. The research shows that in terms of driving traffic to a website, search engines rank first contributing a share of 17.25 per cent, social networking sites take the second spot with a share of 13.99 per cent and the third place goes to email services with a share of 8.43 per cent.

According to Chanchal Chakravarty, Leader- Client Leadership, Mindshare South Asia, the reason for a surge in search engines could be the fact that more people are doing research online before going to a manufacturer’s website. “People are checking for user reviews from third parties as they do not have any vested interests and they are not motivated by the seller,” he said.

As per the Experian report, the top ten most searched products are mobiles, laptops, cameras, entertainment – games, songs & movies and accessories & fashion – shoes, watches & fashion.

Navin Chandani, Managing Director- Marketing Services, Experian Services India Pvt Ltd, stated that the research also showed that there had been a slow and steady increase in the market share of social networks in terms of visit share since August 2010. “Facebook, YouTube and Orkut continue to be the top three social networking sites in India,” he added.

In terms of visit share, Facebook took the top spot with 52.49% in August 2011, up 88.46% over 27.85% in August 2010, YouTube succeeded in the second place with 20.34% in August 2011 over 17.06% in August 2010 and Orkut came in third at 5.55% in August 2011, a decline of 55.62% over 12.50% in August 2010.

Chandani highlighted, “Facebook has a third highest growth rate in terms of market share.”

Orkut India in the fourth position went down 76.68%, taking almost three-fourth of the pie, over 21.45% in August 2010. It was also observed that Rediff at No. 5 has shown maximum growth of 192.15% in terms of market share against 0.33% in August 2010.

LinkedIn at No.6 saw a growth rate of 52.17% year on year while Twitter at No. 7 declined 6.05% over 0.85% in Aug 2010. Yahoo! Answers India came in at the last spot, No.10 with a growth rate of 0.24%.

Navin Chandani further mentioned that the social media industry drives maximum traffic to search engines and other social networking sites.

Expressing his view over the trend, Mohit Joshi, Managing Partner India, MPG, suggested that the reason could be an interaction between consumers and potential consumers for a product or brand category. He noted, “While the consumers of the brand use social network as a platform to share their experiences (positive/ negative), potential consumers of the brand use it to get first time feedback from others (who are consumers of the brand).”

He further said that this helped the potentials to take logical decisions on the basis of other's recommendations and once there is interest that is developed, the traction to the brand websites will go up.

The research shows that different industries rely differently on social networking sites depending on the amount of traffic they generate to websites. It was observed that automotive industries depended heavily on social networking sites as it came in at No. 2. Search engines were leading the No. 1 position with 41.06% share of clicks on automotive websites.

In the Aviation sector, search engines again top the charts with 32.46% clicks. Social networking sites and forums went down to the sixth position with 4.39% clicks. Email services took the fifth position with 7.80% clicks.

Business and Finance segment also gains a lot from social media. Search engines tops the list with 29.92% clicks on business websites, email services saw the third largest share with 8.64% clicks. This was followed by social networking sites at No. 6 with 6.63%.

In the sports segment, search engines and social networking sites come in at the second and third position respectively. The first position went to portal front pages. Meanwhile, the travel segment saw the search engines in the first place, transport websites in the second place, social networking sites in the third place and email services in the fourth place.

Similarly, numbers in the entertainment, food & beverage, health & medical, lifestyle, music, news & media, shopping& classifieds, computers & internet and education show that social media has gained popularity in its ranking.

However, Deepak Netram, Vice President, Lodestar UM, added another dimension saying that more than industry categories; it is brand categories that are looking for social media space. “There are some brands which are prominent because they are seeking their particular space in social media,” he added.

According to the Experian research, Nokia is the most searched brand on the internet. The other brands in the list of top ten are Samsung, Homeshop18, Amway, Dell, Sony, Honda, HP, OLX and ebay.

Even though social networks and social media are finding a place of prominence in every marketing strategy and plan, Chanchal Chakravarty, Leader-Client Leadership, Mindshare, South Asia is of the opinion there is no mechanism available to advertisers yet for tracking it. He stated, “We can only see display advertising for which there is no robust tracking mechanism available.”

However, social media at least helps you get an understanding of the real pulse of the customer.

Deepak Netram concluded, “In a way, it is the fastest way to get the fastest reaction or the most genuine feedback.”


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