Study Gives Paid Search Ads Edge Over Organic
Do visitors from organic listings behave differently than those who arrive at your site via pay-per-click ads? And which type of visitor is more likely to buy?
To get answers to these and other questions, Internet marketing company Engine Ready analyzed 18.7 million visits over two years to Web sites run by 27 of its roughly 500 clients.
In short, the resulting study, "SEO vs. PPC -- The Final Round," found that paid listings had a slight edge over organic search results. Visitors who clicked on paid links were 17 percent more likely to buy something and spent about 18 percent more on each order.
But the study found that visitors clicking on paid links are not necessarily the most valuable kind of Web site visitor. The better-performing group is comprised of people who arrive at a Web site by typing its Web address directly into their browsers or clicking on a bookmark.
Such visitors, who tend to be repeat customers, are the most likely to convert to buyers, doing so on 3.3 percent of their visits -- versus the overall conversation rate for the studied companies, which came in at 1.9 percent.
To get to the true value of an average visitor arriving from the sources studied, Engine Ready computed a value per visit metric (sales revenue divided by number of visits).
The average value per visit for all traffic sources in the study was $2.96. However, direct access/bookmark traffic generated the best value per visit of $5.69, which was more than four times greater than that of organic traffic, which had the lowest value per visit of $1.35. The second most valuable visitor, at $5.01, was one that arrived via a link from another Web site.
Engine Ready also studied the average range of time spent on the site based on traffic source. According to the survey, the source producing the most "sticky" traffic (direct access/bookmark) produced average length of stays 50 percent longer than the lowest-performing source (organic listings) in this category.
Click here to download the study in full.