Online Search Habits Survey: Many Use Search Engines Differently

Americans rely pretty heavily on search engines as a source of information. With just a few keystrokes, users can pull up information about an almost endless amount of topics. But what are the habits that drive these searches, and are people mostly happy with the results they obtain?

search results

Specific Searches

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 55% of respondents said they use search engines multiple times per day. Another 30% said they use them daily, 11% said they use them about once a week, 5% said they use them rarely, and just one respondent said they don’t ever use search engines.

Of those who do, 44% said they are always searching for a very specific piece of information, while 43% said they sometimes are looking for a specific answer but sometimes it can be broader. 9% said they usually just look for information within a specific category, but not necessarily one specific answer. And 4% said they usually just search out of curiosity and see where it takes them.

User Satisfaction

Though many are looking for different types of information, most seem happy with the quality of their results. 22% said they are very satisfied with their search results most of the time, and 63% said they are satisfied. 13% were neutral, and 2% said they were unsatisfied.

Try, Try Again

On those occasions where users don’t find the answers they’re looking for very quickly, they might try a few different tactics. Just 4% of respondents said they look at less than one page of results before giving up or trying a new search. 17% said they look through the whole first page, 30% said they look through two pages, 27% look through three, 7% look through four, and 15% look through five or more. Then, upon hitting their respective page limits, 61% said they will try a new keyword, 20% said they will try a new keyword and a new search engine until they find what they’re looking for, 13% said they’ll try a new search engine, and just 6% said they just give up.

Search engines can be used in a variety of ways, which means that people’s online search habits tend to vary greatly. The widget below shows the results of the survey in full. Be sure to click “open full report” for full details.

Photo Credit: Google images from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on February 9 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.