BrandYourself recently conducted a national study with Harris Interactive that looked into the Googling habits of over 2,500 online US adults. It was surprising to see how much a persons Google results influence everything from who we vote for, do business with and even date.
You can view the FULL STUDY REPORT here and below we included a summary of the key findings and key takeaways from each of the main sections of the study.
Almost all online U.S. adults use search engines to look up other people.
86% used a search engine like Google to find more information about another person. But most people are not well represented: 75% of online U.S. adults have searched their own name, yet almost half (48%) say most of the search results about them aren’t positive, and nearly a third (30%) say nothing shows up at all.
Online searches of candidates influence voting decisions, especially among students and young adults.
Nearly a third (31%) of US adults that have searched a person online have looked up a politician, and over half said the search influenced their voting decision. These numbers increase substantially among younger US adults, especially students.
Your search results effect whether or not people do business with you.
Among U.S. adults that have searched someone online, nearly half (42%) have searched someone before doing business with them, and 45% have found something that made them decide NOT to do business.
Online searches affect your romantic life.
Almost half (43%) of online U.S. adults that have searched someone online have searched a potential date, significant other, or ex boyfriend/girlfriend, making romantic searches the most common search among U.S. adults.
Parents are learning that they need to monitor what shows up in their children’s search results.
20% of online US adults with children currently in their household that have searched someone online have looked up their own children. 25% of those people found something that they rather did not show up publicly about their children.
While negative search results hurt our reputations, positive results can enhance it:
Politicians can gain an edge in the polls by focusing on a building a positive online image, especially among the younger and student voting demographic.
Professionals with more positive search results can gain an edge in their business and their careers.
As more of our lives move online, parents need to be conscious of the search presence of their children.
Despite the importance of a strong search presence, most U.S. adults are not well represented:
In the future people will need a better understanding of how to take better control of their new first impression, or they risk losing opportunities throughout their life.
Let us know your thoughts on the study in the comments below!
BrandYourself.com is the first do-it-yourself platform that makes it easy for anyone to take control of their own Google results. It was founded in 2009 by Syracuse University classmates Pete Kistler, Patrick Ambron and Evan McGowan-Watson after Kistler couldn’t get an internship for being mistaken in Google as a drug dealer. BrandYourself has raised more than $1.2 million in Series A funding and been recognized for its innovative technology, including being honored by the White House as one of the Top 100 Startups Run by Entrepreneurs Under 30, being named one of the Top 5 Collegiate Startups by Entrepreneur Magazine, and being named the winner of the New York State Emerging Business Technology competition, a $200,000 prize, the youngest team to ever win.