Study: Search Vital for CPG Brand Building and Both Offline & Online Sales

October 23, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | CPG & FMCG | Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce

A joint study by comScore, Procter & Gamble, Yahoo, and the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) analyzes the role of online search in generating website traffic, brand-building, and driving in-store traffic for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands.

“The Digital Shelf: the Opportunity for Search Marketing in Consumer Packaged Goods” study was conducted to help P&G better understand the opportunity to grow sales using search marketing for various CPG categories, including baby care, personal care, home care, and packaged food.

Shortcuts to tables featured in this article:

  1. Search as a Driver of Traffic to CPG Websites
  2. Motivations for Visiting CPG Sites
  3. CPG Product Category Spending: Searchers vs. Non-Searchers 

“[S]earch marketing has long been recognized as an effective direct response vehicle…. This study seeks to demonstrate the potential brand-building impact of search for CPG marketers,” said Gord Hotchkiss, Chairman of SEMPO.Findings from the report follow.
Consumers Use Search to Learn about CPG ProductsSearch seems a significant marketing opportunity for CPG brands: The study found that a majority of US consumers visited websites for CPG product categories during the three months ended April 2007.Search drove a significant percentage of visitors in all the examined categories:

  • Food products were the largest search marketing opportunity, with nearly 44 million category site visitors searching.
  • Baby products attracted 15.7 million searchers.
  • Personal care products accounted for 9.8 million searchers.
  • Household products, 1.7 million searchers.


The study also found that a substantial percentage of the visitors to category websites arrived as a result of a search query:

  • Among visitors to baby products sites, 60% arrived via search.
  • Search accounted for 47% of visitors to in food product sites
  • 27% for personal care products
  • 23% for household products

CPG Searchers More Engaged

As part of the study, comScore conducted a survey to determine the attitudes of visitors to CPG websites, dividing respondents into two segments: those who use search to find these sites and those who do not.


The survey revealed that searchers were significantly more involved in obtaining information and demonstrated higher category engagement than non-searchers:

  • 73% of searchers were motivated by product research.
  • 64% were seeking help with the purchase decision.
  • 47% were looking for promotions.
  • Just 29% were specifically looking for the company website.

Conversely, non-searchers’ top motivation was to obtain information on promotions (59%), to conduct product research (58%) or to obtain help with their purchase decision (44%).

“Our deeper understanding of the motivations around search behavior underscores the opportunity to leverage search for more than just direct response marketing,” said Randy Peterson, search innovation manager from Procter & Gamble. “Search may be one of the most effective means of reaching qualified consumers when and where they are most receptive to learning about our brands. Ultimately this drives offline sales.”
CPG Searchers Spend More

The study also profiled consumers’ category purchasing, attitudes, and demographics, finding that for every dimension analyzed, packaged-goods-category searchers were a highly attractive target segment, according to comScore.

Searchers spent approximately 20% more than non-searchers across the four categories studied:


About the study: Full results of the study will be presented in various upcoming industry events and in a webinar for marketers and leaders in the search industry. Requests for invitations to the webinars on the study should be directed to [email protected].

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