New Study Reveals White Paper Role in Search

By Michael Stelzner

When thinking of purchasing a product or service, what do people search for when they use search engines or visit the company website?  A new study reveals the kinds of things people are looking for and the important role of white papers.

A joint study by Google and TechTarget, called the The Google/TechTarget Research Project, examined the search patterns of information technology professionals during the purchasing process.  While this is specific to technology professionals, much insight can be applied to other professions.

Here’s what you need to know:

A few interesting factoids from the study in relation to white papers:

  • 55.2% of respondents indicated they always or frequently seek out white papers, case studies and success stories when visiting a solution-provider’s website
  • 82.2% of respondents always or frequently use search engines to research a problem
  • 61.6% always or frequently use search engines to seek out white papers, case studies and success stories

My take:  If search engines are a key research tool for business professionals attempting to solve problems, it makes sense that white papers should be prominently advertised and placed on search engines. Numerous studies show the importance of white papers for people in the research stage.  This study validates much of the previous research.

A short blurb from the report:

Both Google and TechTarget believe that revealing the mindset of the IT buyer
in the context of their purchase process, and aligning this to the key stages of online
marketing would put marketers in a better position to make keyword buys, choose
content to syndicate, and determine both the optimal selection and scheduling of
media and website types
. This insight will help marketers more efficiently attract the
IT buyer as a target audience with the right media at the right time and in the right

The report goes into much more detail and is worth a read.

What are your thoughts about these findings?

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  • J.D. Meier

    With info overload, white paper is a good distinction, along with brand.

    J.D. Meier’s last blog post..Reward Yourself in the Moment

  • Online Marketing Agency

    Nice Michael, i found the article very informative. Clearly, there are points in your post So, more conferencing using the latest technology over white paper role in search.

  • health retreat

    very nice thinking . No doubt, Search engine play a major role in solving of business problem But after all white papers also has its unique identification for research work

  • Commercial coffe grinder

    Using white papers as a form of link bait could bring traffic and links to ones website.

  • Manticore Technology

    Great post. I attended one of the Roadshow Sessions for the Google/Techtarget Research project a couple of months ago and found the information extremely relevant for creating lead nurturing campaigns and determining what type of offering buyers are looking in the 3 purchase phases. My latest blog posting discusses using the findings from this research project to create content for lead nurturing – whitepapers are a key component of that.

    Manticore Technology’s last blog post..Lead Nurturing: Offering Content Based on Visitors’ Buying Phase

  • Caterers Sydney

    Good content and information on the white paper role in the search engine but only one things is not so important.

  • Sandra Dowson

    It is of common knowledge that search engine is of great importance for figuring out business problems. Beside of white papers are not less important in researching, and sometimes it can be even of much more usage.

  • Sarah Mitchell

    Hi Mike,

    With 3 little nuggets of statistical gold, you’ve given all us white paper and case study writers the perfect angle to “pitch” our prospects. Thanks for doing the hard work.

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