Understanding the Impact of Search Click-Throughs on Your Business

  |  June 30, 2009   |  Comments

Are you looking at the difference in how people convert or behave on your site based on whether they come from organic or paid and from Google or Bing? Don't squander an opportunity.

I was recently forwarded an article about the difference in paid search click-throughs on Google and those of Microsoft's Bing. The highlight: sponsored links attract about 80 percent more attention on Bing than they do on Google. And Microsoft search ads got 170 percent better click-through in June 2009 than they did in June 2008. The study and article talk about a number of reasons this might be the case.

But if we step back, we can look at this in a few different ways:

  • Microsoft perspective, near term: For Microsoft, this is great news. Bing is driving more people through paid search terms and generating more revenue than before. Microsoft may be able to do a study and learn that people are more satisfied and able to find what they are looking for more easily. It may also find that the results returned for the paid terms are better than what comes from organic searches. This can definitely be seen as a positive sign.

  • Advertisers: These are the companies buying paid search terms, thus paying a certain amount for every click to their sites. Ideally these advertisers have determined what it's worth to get people to their sites. If those numbers hold up, advertisers are thrilled with additional traffic. But (and here is the potential risk) the big question is: Does the traffic increase lead to a sales increase? Or is Bing sending more visitors who aren't qualified? Another potential risk: research has shown that visitors who come to a Web site through organic search typically convert at a higher level than visitors who come to a site through paid search. Does the additional traffic being driven through paid search take people away from natural search, thus losing advertisers the benefits of paid search? Tough to say, because Bing is still so new. Plus, advertiser results will differ greatly depending on the site, industry, goals, and so on. But it is something worth considering and understanding.

  • Searchers: This is key. Will consumers using Bing stick with Bing? Will they continue to click on paid search listings at a higher rate? What will Google do to counteract? Is all of this just a blip on the radar based on a new offering? Are consumers finding what they are looking for and being better served by Bing? Again it is too early to say, but that is what really matters.

A great opportunity exists to understand that traffic. As someone within you organization responsible for the Web channel, hopefully you aren't over-focused on your click-throughs from campaigns or the raw number of people sent through. Instead, you should be more focused on traffic quality.

Dig in. Take time to understand what is happening and the potential opportunities to leverage the differences and possible changing trends. How can you take advantage of this shift? Are you looking at the difference in how people convert or behave on your site based on whether they come from organic or paid and from Google or Bing? Are you tailoring your messaging based on what you learn? These are all questions you should be asking yourself regardless of whether you think the difference between Bing and Google is just a short-term shift or a long-term trend.

Don't let yourself get caught focusing on just the click-throughs or assuming that all search traffic behaves the same on your site and that you can treat it the same. Look for ways to adjust, improve, and target messaging to lift the conversion of the traffic coming from those click throughs.

Shoot me a note or make a comment below about the differences you see between the traffic coming from Google and that from Bing, or how you're targeting your site messaging and experiences to those different audiences.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Burby

As president of the Americas regions for the digital agency POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. Jason has 20-plus years experience in digital strategy. He is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports our clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works.

Jason speaks frequently about helping marketers take advantage of data to make smarter business decisions and improve the success of their organizations. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.

Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...