July 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Companies still underinvesting in site search, Jupiter survey finds

56% of companies surveyed still use homegrown site search tools, while 28% use those that are open-sourced based. In contrast to leading packaged solutions, such tools are comparatively less likely to provide satisfying search results.”


Companies across multiple industries are still under-investing in site search, concludes a new Jupiter report that compares the relationship between search technology and the likelihood of reporting positive ROI.

The majority of site operators from companies with revenues of $50 million and up are still using homegrown or open-source site search solutions, according to the report. “Companies that can capitalize on search experiences based on the presence of critical, measurable transactions have the most to gain from investments in packaged search applications,” according to the report and its lead author, Jupiter analyst Eric Peterson. These companies are in retail and other industry sectors such as travel. “Unfortunately, these sites still overwhelmingly attempt to build rather than buy search, with 56% of companies using homegrown applications and 28% using open source-based applications, which are comparatively less likely to provide satisfying search results,” the report notes.

The ability to rapidly gain ROI, according to the report, should be a key driver of investment in site search. The majority of companies surveyed with transactional (vs. information-only) sites and investment in packaged search applications reported positive ROI and an additional 27% reported neutral ROI. However, notes Jupiter, more reports of neutral ROI would likely be positive if the activity of searchers on these sites were measured better.

“Site operators must remain focused on defining and measuring the true value of search deployments,” according to the report. Given the high average cost of packaged search, estimated at between $100,000 and $500,000, “Vendors must work to accurately identify how investment will translate into tangible results for sites of all kinds,” it concludes.


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