The results of the annual survey from Forrester which details how consumers are finding the websites they visit have been published. It is no surprise that the number one way people find the websites they visit is through search engines such as Google or Bing. Search is still the most popular with 54% of people surveyed reporting they use it regularly (up from 50% in 2011). In second place is social networking sites which had a significant jump this year. They went from 25% in 2011 to 32% of respondents finding sites through social media in 2012.
What might be overlooked by many, but is actually quite interesting for marketers is that in 2012 more people reported that they find websites through emails from companies or brands than from emails from friends or family. This is a strong indication of just how effective email marketing can be, and it is only getting stronger. In 2011 only 15% of those surveyed said they found websites through an email sent to them from a company. Compared with 26% acknowledging they find sites through emails from friends or family. In 2012, however, the numbers changed significantly.
E-Mail marketing helped 26% of people find new sites, a jump of 11% in just one year. Links from friends and family went down by one percent to 25. This is significant for marketers in a number of ways. First, it shows that people are getting even more comfortable clicking links from marketers in their email. Many people wouldn’t do this in the past because of the risk of virus’s and other problems. Clearly this stigma is starting to fade, which is good news for marketers everywhere.
It also shows that people are becoming less likely to follow links which are sent to them from friends or family, which is not extremely surprising given the fact that so many people over-share links. In addition more people are sharing their links on social networking sites like Facebook so they are most likely emailing them to friends and family less frequently.
One other interesting point to notice in this survey is that from 2011 to 2012 the number of people who find new sites from sponsored search engine results jumped from just 8% to 18%. This is undoubtedly good news for the search engines, but also for many marketers who are using AdWords and other networks to drive targeted traffic. People are clicking their links at a greater rate than ever which should lead to more traffic and greater sales.
Overall this was quite an interesting report to read and could have some important implications on the way marketers work in 2013 and beyond. You can view the survey results HERE, though it costs $499 to purchase.