New Research Shows Branded Consumer Searches Highest in Travel

When it comes to hospitality and travel, a majority of consumer searches (62 percent) feature a brand term, according to a new report by Uberall, Inc., a platform managing digital experiences for local businesses.

The figure is attributed to the high level of brand familiarity and loyalty among today’s travel searchers.

A branded search is when a consumer seeks out a particular company or product such as “Carnival” or “Hilton” while an unbranded search lacks brand-specific terms. Examples could include “ocean cruises” or “four-star hotels,” among others.

Uberall recently examined both branded and unbranded consumer search trends, analyzing 22 global brands with 48,000 locations and more than 450,000 small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) between August 2018 and August 2019.

While branded searches were found to be highest in travel, it was shown to be the lowest in the B2B segment, with 88 percent of searches unbranded and thus meaning a majority of consumers were likely more open to discovery.

“Companies need to optimize for both types of search and especially unbranded queries,” said Greg Sterling, VP of Insights at Uberall, in a statement. “If you’re Bank of America, for example, you need to rank for your own terms but also for searches like ‘best 0% APR credit cards’ or ‘lowest mortgage rates.'”

Citing Google data, Uberall reports that 90 percent of consumers typically begin their online research without a particular brand in mind and found that they discover global brands more often through unbranded searches (58 percent) compared to branded searches (42 percent).

Interestingly though, Uberall found that branded searches increased by 136 percent over the study’s one-year period versus just 75 percent for unbranded searches.

“It’s critical to understand how potential customers are discovering your business and locations—or your competitors,” said Brad Fagan, Senior Content Strategist and author of the report. “The more branded queries the better, but most consumers are searching without a specific name in mind, which translates into a battle for visibility; and that’s even more true among SMBs, where awareness is much lower.”

“Brands often assume people seek them out directly, but failure to address unbranded searches means they could be missing out on a lot of potential exposure,” added Sterling. “Having a clear understanding of consumer search behavior is essential in optimizing your digital marketing. And in a time of budget constraints, that’s more critical than ever.”

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