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Internet Users May Search, Pin, Tweet and Like - But Don't Know How Their Favorite Sites Turn a Profit

National Study Also Reveals Social Proclivities and Understandings Based on Demographic

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Search Agency, a global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, today announced wave II results of its 2012 Online User Behavior and Engagement Study, conducted online by Harris Interactive among 2,006 U.S. online adults from August 14-16, 2012. In addition to other findings, the study shows that, while Americans may be tweeting, searching and pinning to their hearts' delight, they can't pinpoint how some of the web's most popular sites make a dime.

Findings Include:

We Know How to Post, but Not How They Profit
70% of U.S. online adults know how to post on someone's wall, but only 54% understand how Facebook makes money. Males demonstrated a higher understanding around Facebook's monetization strategies at 57%, vs. females at 51%.

Men Tweet, Women Pin
More online men know the character length of a tweet (37%) than online women (27%). When it comes to Pinterest, more women know what it means to "pin" something online (48%) than men (42%).

Who is Padding Google's Pockets?
22% of U.S. online adults overall reported that they click on search engine ads (e.g. paid search links), but results showed great behavioral variances by region and age. U.S. online adults in the South showed the highest propensity to click on paid links (29%), nearly ten full percentage points greater than any other region: Northeast (20%), West (19%) and Midwest (17%). 30% of Americans ages 18-34 indicated they click on search engine ads, which is almost double the rate of Americans age 35 and older (18%).

Pay to Play Search
When asked how the search engines make money, more than one-third of American online adults believe that search engines sell users' personal data to marketers; 29% believe that companies pay annual dues for use; and 20% believe that users pay for premium search features. American online adults in the West were most likely to answer that the search engines sell advertising that runs with the search results (84%); while just over three-quarters of the total U.S. online population realizes this as being a source of funds for the engines.

"This Study illuminates the distinct differences between online behavior and understanding based on various demographics; smart marketers will consider these and other behaviors when creating their strategies to engage the right user at the right time," said Keith Wilson, vice president, agency products at The Search Agency. "And, as users get more social, their intent will become even more visible to marketers - these insights can be used to construct the most personalized and, ultimately, successful online marketing strategies."

For more information about The Search Agency or the 2012 Online User Behavior and Engagement Study, go to http://www.thesearchagency.com/classroom/research/.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Search Agency from August 14th-16th, 2012 among 2,006 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About The Search Agency
The Search Agency is a global online marketing firm that combines high-tech and high-touch strategies to help clients engage their customers online and measure ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. With a deep-rooted history in paid search and SEO, The Search Agency understands how activity on the web intersects at search, and executes smart digital marketing strategies that drive measurable results across multiple platforms. Services include Paid Search, SEO, Landing Page Optimization, Display Media, Social Media and Comparison Shopping Management, which are strategically leveraged to maximize the efficacy of clients' integrated marketing campaigns. The company is one of the nation's largest and fastest growing search marketing firms – named the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency by Advertising Age and among Deloitte's 2011 Technology Fast 500™. Founded in 2002, The Search Agency has grown to more than 180 employees worldwide with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, and additional offices in San Francisco, East Greenwich, Baltimore, Tampa, London, Sydney, Toronto and Bangalore. For more information, go to http://www.thesearchagency.com.  

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE The Search Agency

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