Microsoft study finds search to be most influential B2C marketing channel
05 April 2017 (Edited 08 August 2017)

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Microsoft has reported findings of a study by Forrester Consulting to evaluate the marketing mixes of 300 US marketing agencies and B2C advertisers vis-a-vis Forrester data on consumer adoption and perceptions of various channels used in the buying process.

Basic finding was that search is the top channel for customer engagement, and thus provides marketers with intent data which other media cannot.


  • Search is customers' primary source of information; 19% said it was the most influential channel in researching their most recent purchase, vs. max of 7% for any other channel.
  • Marketers using sophisticated search programs rank the ROI of search above all other media except organic social.
  • Search is better than traditional media at boosting the performance of other media channels.


  • Advanced search techniques like guided search, sitelink extensions. schema markups, local inventory ads and optimization for voice search have low adoption ranging from 17% to 41% of survey respondents.
  • Researchers posit that low adoption is largely rooted in lack of awareness.


  • Make (effective) search a bigger part of your marketing mix.
  • Do some research to discover how - or if - customers are finding you via search, and make sure your analytics are measuring this correctly.
  • Phase in advanced search tactics, integrating with and between TV and mobile.

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