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BizReport : Search Marketing : September 26, 2006

WebSideStory Research into Paid vs. Organic Search Tallies with Peer Reviews is reporting that paid search is only slightly more efficient than organic search results for conversions. The company analyzed over 57 million search engine visits on Google, Yahoo and MSN. The order conversion rate at business-to-consumer e-commerce sites reached 3.4 percent for pay per click, against a 3.1 percent organic conversion rate, according to the firm.

by Angelique van Engelen

Lee Odden, a hybrid marketing specialist who writes for the Online Marketing Blog has listed several similar studies and came up with some interesting comparisons. These include research carried out by iProspect, who browsed Google, Yahoo! MSN and AOL and found out that 60.5 percent of all users clicked on a natural (or “organic” or “algorithmic”) search result, while 39.5 percent clicked on a paid search advertisement. A similar study, but from a slightly different angle is the iProspect and Jupiter Research study that shows that 2/3 of users click on the first page of results. OneUpWeb concluded that users are up to six times more likely to click on the first few organic results as they are to choose any of the paid (PPC) results. Jupiter said algorithmic listings in search indexes generate an estimated six of seven commercially natured search referrals.

Odden concluded that in most cases, a combined (organic and PPC) approach is exceptionally productive, especially consumer product searches. “I don’t think any online campaign, regardless of vertical industry or whether it is B2C or B2B, can rely on a single channel of promotion like organic search results.” He also points out that the more recent strategies that online marketers are adopting yield ‘a truly competitive advantage’. “Companies are paying more attention to how they can integrate online and offline marketing efforts, get better performance out of multi channel and social media marketing.”

Tags: conversion rates, search engines, WebSideStory

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  • One interesting thing to note about the WebSideStory analysis is their methodology that "Order conversions occurred during the same session." I have seen conversions double if you include conversions that took place within 3 days after the initial session. I have to wonder if that would change the results.



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