A more sophisticated base of consumers is navigating directly to the web sites they want or using searches to find them, according to data from StatMarket, a division of analytics firm WebSideStory Inc., which tracks global Internet user trends. Among the three methods of locating web sites, the use of search engine referrals almost doubled over the past year to 13% of global referrals, up from 7% at the same time last year. But at the same time, consumers navigated directly to sites by inputting a URL 65% of the time, up from 50% last year. The growth in two methods came at the expense of web links, which dropped to 21% of global referrals from 43% last year.
“People are more efficient in their web use,” says Geoff Johnston, vice president of product marketing for StatMarket. “The trend is that they either navigate directly to a web site they already know or use a search engine to find a new one.”
Search engine referral percentages vary by country, StatMarket found. Search sites in the United Kingdom accounted for 17% of referral this year in contrast with the U.S. figure of almost 15%. Search engine referrals were even higher in Spain and South Africa, at 22% of referrals and 20%, respectively.
StatMarket compiles its data from millions of daily Internet users who visit sites using WebSideStory’s analytics service, HitBox.