How important is it for wireless carriers and handset manufacturers to have an effective online strategy? Very. A recent study by Compete and Google found that the majority of wireless phone buyers are researching online, and that attracting searchers has short-and long-term benefits.
The study found that 78% of consumers who made a wireless purchase used the internet for research beforehand, even though 94% of transactions are completed offline. This means that almost 12M consumers will use the web to research their purchase before buying from one of the Big Five carriers in Q4 alone, a finding with huge implications for the industry.
Search plays an important role in the research and decision-making process of online wireless shoppers, particularly high-value consumers. 24% of online wireless shoppers were observed using a major search engine to arrive at a wireless web site, such as a carrier site, handset manufacturer site, a wireless blog or community site, or an agent site like Amazon or Let’s Talk.
As shown in the graphic, half of the searchers said that they had used search engines throughout the entire research and shopping process.
The research showed that searchers are more likely than non-searchers to spend more on their cell phones: 27% of searchers spent more than $100 compared to 20% of non-searchers. A likely result of their interest in high-end handsets, searchers may also yield higher ARPU over their contract periods, as shown in the chart below:
- Searchers are more likely to use all types of value-added services on their phone every month
- This high propensity to consume these services means searchers spend more on their wireless bills each month and may therefore have a higher lifetime value than non-searchers
The bottom line is that a strong online and search marketing strategy is extremely important for wireless marketers. Every company should be:
- Investing in a strong web presence which will have a noticeable impact on decision-making for more than three quarters of your potential customers
- Developing a search marketing strategy that caters to consumers at each stage of the research cycle, from brand building to comparison to driving conversion
- Paying attention to searchers — they may be higher value customers