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Half of consumers search online using fragments (e.g., "swollen ankle") and half use more fully formed phrases (e.g., "causes of swollen ankle during sleep"), according to a recent report from Blue Nile Research.

The report was based on data from a study of 183 online adults who were given three scenarios and asked to input the search query they felt would best result in the information needed. The three scenarios tested were: Coffee maker does not turn on; swollen ankle; and in the market for a new laptop.

Exactly 50% of respondents used "fragment queries" (2-3 words) to search when given the three scenarios, and 50% used "full queries" (4+ words).

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Number of Words

Though there was an even split between fragments and full queries, the exact number of words used by respondents varied widely; for example, 29% used two words to search and 18% used six or more words.

Questions

Some 27% of respondents phrased their queries in the form of a question.

Of the responses that were questions, searchers most often used "how" (44%); "what" was used least (12%).

About the research: The report was based on data from a study of 183 online adults who were given three scenarios and asked to input the search query they felt would best result in the information needed.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji