The Role of Search in the Online Credit Card Market

Compete recently held a webinar in which we analyzed the role that search plays in consumers’ online research for credit cards. Using the credit card market as an example, we are able to see how search has become a significant aspect of many consumers’ path to purchase across a variety of products and services. Some of the key findings from this study include:

  • Search activity is frequent
    • 35% of shoppers that go on to submit an online credit card application do 5 or more search queries while they are shopping
  • Search frequency and online credit card conversion are positively correlated
    • Consumers who search 5 or more times are significantly more likely to convert
  • Most consumers stick with one type of search path: branded or non-branded

    • Consumers who ultimately submit an online credit card application are split approximately 50/50 in their use of branded vs. non-branded keywords and tend to utilize that same path throughout their entire shopping process
  • Non-branded search terms convert at nearly twice the rate as branded terms

    • Non-branded paid terms had the highest overall conversion
  • Search is used throughout the consumer shopping cycle
    • 60% of search referrals occur outside of the conversion session, thus indicating that consumers leverage search at the very early stages of their shopping process when they might not yet be ready to transact

In sum, it is clear that search plays a very significant role in consumers’ online research for credit cards. Credit card shoppers use search frequently and at multiple stages of their research process. Additionally, there apparently is a cumulative effect to the value of search, as conversion trends upward with the more one searches.

As we continue to spend more time online and leverage the web for a greater number of reasons, search is likely to play an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. It will be interesting to monitor both the growth and impact of search over time.

Please note that a replay of this webinar can be viewed here.