Enquiro recently released an updated study on how B2B buyers use search engines. The key finding is that B2B buyers start with general search engines throughout the purchase cycle, but many move toward vertical search engines as they get closer to making a buying decision. The B2B / vertical search engine of choice varies by industry and examples include Business.com, KnowledgeStorm (IT), Thomasnet & GlobalSpec (Industrial & Engineering). B2B buyers are influenced by traditional offline methods (word of mouth), but then turn to a general search engine, especially Google, for more information. As they dig deeper, vertical search engines play an increasing role – especially as they get closer to making a buying decision.
It’s important to note that the top listings claim the bulk of the clicks – no surprise there. Organic results dominate click throughs, especially the top 4 positions, and the top pay-per-click ad gets twice as many clicks as the ad in the 2nd position.
What do B2B buyers like to find on a Web site? Textual information that’s downloadable, portable (pdfs), and simple to understand. Why? Because the person doing the research isn’t usually the only person involved in the final decision and must present it to others. Rich media (video and podcasts) are less important. One could assume that researchers are tasked with finding information like relevant pricing information, technical specs, customer service and support data, etc. So B2B sites would be wise to provide that information in a downloadable textual format.
- B2B sites need to provide .pdfs that contain critical buyer-oriented information
- B2B sites need a presence on key vertical search engines in addition to Google
- Google is by far the most important general search engine for B2B
- Paid ads are effective in B2B, but top positions command all the clicks