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Expand your strategy: Gender differences in search behavior

By April 16, 2024No Comments

Understanding patterns in consumer digital behavior is essential to reaching your target audience most efficiently.

In the crowded field of healthcare software marketing, applying this knowledge purposefully to your SEO and digital advertising strategies can give your organization a significant market advantage.

Gender differences in online search behavior are an area ripe for additional research and exploration in developing strategic marketing plans.

Statistics about gender differences in search behavior

1. Use of narrow vs. broad search keyphrases. How people use search engines to find information and their responses to ads can vary.

  • 68.4% of women, compared to only 46.2% of men, use search operators to narrow their searches, meaning women are more likely to use long-tail keywords and be specific in their search behavior than men.
  • Research has also found business women are 23% more likely to click on online ads than men, making ads served in response to the long-tail keywords favored by women more valuable.

2. Search beyond Google. There’s more to search results than Google.

  • More people are using social networking sites to search for companies, brands and products—and more women than men are inclined to do so.
  • While Google is pretty evenly split between male and female users, Bing users are 68% male.

3. Rise in image search. When it comes to your search strategy, remember the increasing relevance of images and alt-image tags.

4. Trust in online reviews. While it’s not exactly Yelp status, B2B marketers know online reviews and testimonials from like-minded peers are essential to the purchase decision.

Knowing your target persona drives marketing plan strategy and ad spend

While statistics about gender differences in online behavior are interesting, you may be wondering how to use this information to drive B2B marketing decisions.

The biggest takeaway for marketers is a reminder that your target personas are real people. They are more than a job title and a deeper understanding of their motivations, goals, and behaviors can help drive your marketing plan, including what channels to invest in.

Here are two examples of what that looks like in practice:

  1. If your target audience is primarily comprised of women, invest in more visual content that doesn’t alienate while ensuring it is optimized for long-tail keyphrases easily found via image search and focus on securing customer reviews and testimonials that could rank for niche industry keyphrases.
  2. If your target audience is primarily male, consider prioritizing more informational content that ranks for broader SEO keywords and testing Microsoft Bing Ads against Google results in paid search.

As gender identities evolve, it will be interesting to see how differences in online search behavior also change.

Note: This blog post was originally posted on February 27, 2016, and has been updated to reflect newer stats.

Melanie Hilliard

Author Melanie Hilliard

Melanie is an Account Director and Content Lead at Clarity Quest. Nothing makes her heart sing more than fantastic marketing. To learn more about Melanie's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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