The Point of Search Overview


'The Point of Search' is a collaborative research study conducted by Clear Channel UK, Global, JCDecaux and Posterscope looking into consumer behaviours around search, the findings were presented at an online event held on 26 January 2023.


Three Stages of Research

The three stages of the research uncovered further new insights into consumer search behaviour out of home:


A comparison of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Six Core Search Typologies (as classified by Google) identified that Maslow’s need states are very much evident in these six search typologies. A national, online consumer survey then explored how these need states are reflected in people’s search behaviours and found:
  • People’s search behaviour across multiple categories parallels Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need states, both in the out of home and in home environment
  • People’s core need states are searched more often with “doing” and “understanding” searches, but all needs are regularly searched
  • The more time consumers spend OOH, the more often they search across different categories, and out of home searches span a wider range of search typologies, need states and motivations (especially location needs) than those searches conducted in home


A bespoke online search diary completed by over 1,000 people recorded their mobile search behaviour over a seven-day period, creating an in-depth database of almost 10,000 mobile searches to determine how search differs when conducted in “OOH Locations” versus “At Home”, and discovered:
  • Mobile searches out of home have a wider variety of triggers, particularly location needs, the senses, and feelings:
    • The number one motivation to search when out of home was to fulfil a location need e.g., to find a store address
    • People are more impulsive and looking for inspiration when out of home
    • Search adds value and enhances consumers’ activities and experiences
    • Consumers see, hear and smell things out of home that act as triggers to search
    • Consumers have many location needs when out of home and location memories act as a primer and trigger to search         
  • Mobile searches in out of home locations are proportionately more likely to take place Monday to Thursday, while in home searches are more likely at the weekends
  • Mobile searches out of home are more spread out across time periods (over 8 in 10 taking place between the morning and 7pm), while 4 in 10 searches at home take place in the evening post 7pm
  • Mobile searches out of home take place more often in the company of other people than at home searches, providing more opportunity for word of mouth


The final stage of the research looked at the specific attributes of OOH media (e.g., traditional billboards, digital OOH, etc.) that encourage people to search and identified that:
  • Specific OOH media attributes drive search, such as Classic and DOOH, size, frequency, dwell time and experiential
  • OOH advertising creative can be optimised by tailoring messages to needs and motivations, using specific creative messages, elements and dynamic DOOH