A survey conducted by Enquiro Search Solutions and MarketingSherpa reveals the important role search plays in business-to-business buying decisions (PDF).

Among the findings of the research are:

  • Search plays a dominant role in decision-making about business-to-business purchases.
  • Google is overwhelmingly the search engine of choice in researching business-to-business purchases.
  • Search is most likely to be used during the early or mid research phase of the buying cycle.
  • Search engines will likely be used in conjunction with other sites primarily manufacturer’s sites. Budget for the purchase is a factor in the likelihood of this occurring.
  • Research (and search engine usage) generally happens at least a month or two in advance of the actual purchase decision.
  • Budget plays a part in this as well, with the gap between research and purchase decisions increasing with the amount of the budget.
  • Effective balancing of organic and sponsored strategies is essential: organic search results, depending on the search engine, draw anywhere from 70 to 80% of the click-throughs.
  • Position whether on the organic or sponsored side, is also essential: Over 60% of the click-throughs happen on the first 3 listings.
  • The way the users eye moves across the search engine page is a strong determinant in which listing will be eventually chosen.
  • Over 60% of all users make their decisions about which listing they will click on in a few seconds, after a quick scan of the page. This reinforces the importance and the significant advantage top sponsored locations provide.