Marketers ought to consider changing their advertising strategies in order to attract customers earlier in the shopping process as a result of changes in search activity, an industry expert has said.

Gian Fulgoni of analytics company comScore observed that – with June’s total number of searches reaching 202 million – users are growing more dependent on both product reviews and social networks in terms of online and offline purchasing at the start of their retail plans.

"The searches conducted to access these tools are also becoming more specific in describing their needs, with the average search phrase now containing more than three words per search query," he said.

Mr Fulgoni added that, as buyers are using search to establish interest in products and there is an increased likelihood that decisions to buy will be made prior to reaching the seller’s website, those involved in search engine marketing should adapt their campaign methods to reflect this.

In August, research by Just Retirement indicated that online marketers might like to consider targeting older people, as 65 per cent of over-50s use the web regularly to buy items.

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