Want more PPC traffic? The inside word from Google

Written on 02 April, 2012 by Clancy Clarke
Categories: Pay Per Click | Tags: google, pay per click, ppc

Google’s internal research team originally released some very interesting data from a study they completed in regards to paid versus organic search traffic. The major focus of the study was to determine if paid search ads are paused whether the clicks from organic results make up for the lost paid visits?

The major finding from the research was in essence, if you pause your paid search campaign then 89% of the clicks from the paid campaign will not be made up by organic search clicks even if you are ranking on the first page. For example:

  • You receive 100 clicks per day from paid search advertising
  • You pause the paid search campaign
  • Only 11 additional clicks are received from organic results with the absence of the paid ads

While the study was in-depth, the data was gathered from 400 paid search campaigns, there were several questions left unanswered. Website owners, both those using paid search campaigns and those who are not, flooded Google with questions after the results were published. Website owners wanted clarification on how they determined the 89% figure and how applicable this is to the majority of paid search campaigns. Google was forced to refine the study and include further variables. On March 28th this year Google released the findings via their Google Research Blog. Not only did the new findings support the previous information, it also highlighted in more realistic terms the effects of pausing a paid search campaign. The two main questions from the initial study were answered:

  1. How often is an ad impression accompanied by an associated organic result (i.e. organic result for the same advertiser)?
  2. How does the incrementality of the ad clicks vary with the rank of advertiser’s organic results (i.e. what’s the difference in percentage of paid clicks replaced by organic clicks for varying organic rankings)?

The re-analysis of 390 of the paid search campaigns that were previously looked at revealed some astounding results: On average 81% of ad views (impressions) occur when the advertiser does not have an accompanying page 1 organic listing. Additionally, 66% of ad clicks occur in the absence of an associated organic result on the first page of search results. With this in mind, Google also showed that:

  1. If you have a paid search campaign and rank number 1 for a keyword you are bidding on 50% of clicks will not be replaced by the organic traffic if you pause your paid search campaign.
  2. If you have a paid search campaign and rank between 2-4 for a keyword you are bidding on 82% of clicks will not be replaced by the organic traffic if you pause your paid search campaign.
  3. If you have a paid search campaign and rank between 5-10 for a keyword you are bidding on 96% of clicks will not be replaced by the organic traffic if you pause your paid search campaign.
  4. Obviously, if you do not rank organically for a term you are bidding on, 100% of paid clicks are not replaced by organic clicks if you pause your paid search campaign.

Understanding the results can be complex, especially for those new to paid search advertising. In a nutshell Google has showed that you cannot expect organic traffic to completely replace paid traffic even if you rank on page 1 organically. One important point to note is that the results Google has published do not include any references to conversions. So the number of conversions from organic results versus paid results and how they interact may well follow a very different trend. Full details of the study and the results can be found here. Have you experienced a similar phenomenon? Do you believe the results that Google has released are accurate and reflect your paid search campaign. WebCentral’s paid search consultants can help you manage a successful paid search campaign to ensure you are not missing out on additional clicks to your website. Call us today on 1800 800 099 to find out how you can benefit from PPC.