Study: Where do consumers search for products online?

Online product searches have more sources than you may think.

According to “Retail’s Emerging Toolbox: Sponsored Search, Affiliate Marketing and Influencers Report” from digital intelligence provider Jumpshot, Google is losing ground to Amazon as a product search channel.

Study results indicate Google referrals to e-commerce sites have fallen 17.6% since 2016. On average, the percentage of referral traffic from Google to 10 leading e-commerce domains has fallen from 48.6% in January 2016 to 40% in March 2019.

However, on the same domains, transaction volumes have increased by 20% average since 2017, suggesting Google traffic is not driving consumer product discovery as effectively it once was. Search terms that include brand names, such as “Apple TV,” tend to draw higher volumes from Google than from Amazon. However, non-branded terms, especially for CPG products such as “toothpaste” and “paper towels” tend to draw higher volumes on Amazon.

Analyzing sponsored search trends, the study finds that views from sponsored search listings on Amazon increased 54% year-over-year in Q1 2019. During the quarter, Amazon product views from sponsored search were nearly six times higher than they were in the same quarter in 2016. Purchases grew almost nine times higher in the same time period.

Walmart’s sponsored views have grown, but still drive less than 2% of all product views, which Jumpshot analysis attributes to Walmart not offering the same amount of inventory as Amazon.

Other notable findings in key areas of online search and marketing include:

• The leading 1,000 influencer channels on YouTube drove 84 million product views and 2.2 million purchases on Amazon.

• Visits to Amazon influencer stores doubled year-over-year in Q1 2019.

• Non-advertising traffic to Amazon from YouTube influencers channels result in a sale 2.7% of the time, higher than the estimated conversion rate for views from traditional ads on YouTube, which is close to 0.5%.

• The leading 10 influencer channels alone accounted for 21% of Amazon purchases driven by YouTube influencers.

• Year-over-year, 16% more Amazon shoppers visited multiple affiliate or coupon sites during Q1 2019.

• 40% more Walmart shoppers visited multiple affiliate sites during Q1 2019.

Jumpshot studied anonymized U.S. consumer actions on e-commerce sites and marketplaces along with search engines, affiliate retail sites and YouTube; analyzing visits and transactions for different brand categories across these sites. The data ranges from January 2016 through March 2019.