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'Search Engine Fatigue' Drives Consumers to Distraction


The holy grail

Some 72 percent of potential US online car buyers experience "search engine fatigue": unable to find the information they need, they grow impatient or frustrated.

Of those, three out of four leave their computers without finding the info, according to a new Kelton Research survey commissioned by Autobytel Inc., reports MarketingCharts.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans describe finding the "right and relevant" car-related information on the big search engines — such as Google and Yahoo — as overwhelming and time-consuming, according to the survey:

autobytel-search-top-complaints-about-search-engines.jpg

And nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they have actually put off buying a car because they found the process too overwhelming or frustrating.

That's a significant number, considering that 90 percent of all car buyers use the internet when shopping for a vehicle.

Among other findings of the survey:

  • 65.4 percent of Americans say they've spent two or more hours in a single sitting searching for specific information on search engines.
  • 75.4 percent have searched for automotive or car-related information online.
  • Consumers search for a wide variety of car-related information, not just new vehicles:

autobytel-search-top-automotive-searches.jpg

  • 86 percent of those seeking specific car-related information agreed that big search engines have limitations or drawbacks.
  • Online automotive researchers are also frustrated with third-party sites, such as Autobytel.com, Edmunds.com and KBB.com:
    • Two-thirds (67 percent) said these third-party sites are "mostly similar," without offering "substantial differences."
    • 36 percent of consumers indicated they have to visit other websites to make sure they get the comparative information they need to make decisions.

autobytel-search-limitations-third-party-sites.jpg

  • Asked to choose from a "wish list" of what they would like from an automotive website, the largest block of consumers (37 percent) said they would like to have access to the internet's full range of automotive information in order to receive the most relevant information they are seeking.
  • 85 percent wish there were a one-stop shop for everything related to cars, including purchase, service and accessories.
  • 75 percent of say they plan to consult numerous professional and consumer reviews in their next car purchase decision.

Autobytel released the study simultaneously with the official launch of MyRide.com, an automotive vertical search engine.

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