Study: DIY Related Searches Dominate Tax Prep Category

With tax season upon us, what better time than now to look at how consumers are looking to file. According to search engine keyword performance data pulled from the LSA Insights database, searches for do-it-yourself (DIY) tax software in the 2013-2014 tax season far exceeded the number of searches for local tax service providers.

Our analysis looked at searches in the Tax Preparation category and considered DIY to be those searches that include keywords such as “tax” and “software” and Paid to include keywords such as, “professionals,” “CPA,” “Accountant,” and others. While this is somewhat of an informal analysis and doesn’t include keywords such as “free” or “online,” the gap seen in the chart above is compelling.

Also, as the chart above shows, the peak for these searches was in February, which appears to be the ideal time for both online tax tools and tax pros to buy some paid search ads and increase exposure.  With most people looking for solutions to file at that time, advertisers are sure to get the most bang for the buck.

Though online search isn’t the only way people find local tax professionals or tax tools, the data does point to a larger trend away from paid services to DIY tools. When looking at 2013 versus 2014 online tax filings, the IRS showed a 6% increase in tax payers that filed their taxes themselves while those who filed with tax professionals decreased 2%.

This year, the IRS is showing that self-prepared filing is outpacing tax professionals by about 1.5 million through the end of January.  In addition, they are showing that online filing has increased 27% compared to the same period last year.  Of the 14 million individual income tax returns filed this year, 95% of these were filled electronically.

This shift in the way we file taxes is being driven by digital technologies. Online tax tools like TurboTax and TaxAct make filing quick, easy and cost effective, and even the IRS offers free filing services. Other tools that are minimizing the need for a tax professional’s assistance include bookkeeping apps like Shoeboxed or Expensify that allow tax payers to upload receipts and save them to expense entries.

About LSA Insights

In addition to paid search data, LSA Insights offers campaign data for mobile, online directories and print directories, with social and video coming in the near future. With over 350,000 actual campaigns and growing, users of LSA Insights can refine the data based on category, geography and campaign type in order to unlock powerful media specific insights with just a few clicks.

The tool is ready to assist in developing better market intelligence, campaign benchmarking, more efficient budget allocation and media planning and more effective sales tools and marketing content and collateral.

If you are interested in learning more about LSA Insights, check out the quick demo below or contact LSA’s Business Development Manager Kevin Kalinowski at (248) 244-0713.

*DIY consists of keyword searches using “tax” and “software” within Tax Preparation Heading.
*Paid consists of keyword searches using “companies,” “professionals,” “certified,” “CPA,” “accountant” and “local” within Tax Preparation Heading.

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