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Retail Paid Clicks Convert Higher

Posted on 10.26.2008

It's a difficult decision for every Web professional where should we put our budget, time and resources? Paid traffic or natural/organic SEO for traffic? While there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of campaign, Google and Compete believe that paid clicks are more likely to convert in the online retail space.

It should come as no surprise that the role of SEO and advertising is vital in e-commerce. The findings from a joint study (available through a Webinar here) reveal that while both branded and non-brand clicks were important to ROI, paid clicks are more likely to convert than natural clicks. One retail study they were involved with stated that in 7 out of 8 categories tested (the exception was home furnishings) paid clicks were 50% more likely to convert than organic clicks.

The study aimed to quantify the value of search clicks in driving online and in-store sales. Google and Compete documented shoppers search behavior to understand non-converting clicks by monitoring clicks to leading retails websites (e.g. Ann Taylor, Zappos,, Ikea, Walmart to name a few) and tracking consumer purchase activity 60 days after the of initial click. Some interesting findings from the study include:

  • Up to 33% of all visitors to retail sites come from search
  • Up to 55% of paid traffic comes from non-branded clicks
  • Up to 49% of purchasers using search click on non-branded search terms
  • 32% of mass merchants purchases occur more than 2 weeks after the initial search referral  (30% purchase same-session, but 70% purchase later)
  • Up to 43% of online shoppers purchase in-store

What does this mean for marketers? Primarily that search is a valuable tool for reaching retail shoppers and that broad and diversified search investments is the best strategy. Marketers should look beyond consumers immediate actions when valuing the ROI of search efforts.

If you are new to Website Magazine, consider reviewing the following two articles as they compliment the importance of this study quite well:


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