Keywords Have Value at Any Rank

  |  February 21, 2006   |  Comments

As marketers recognize their individual sweet spot the active number of keywords in an average campaign doubles.

Keyword campaigns succeed at any level if marketers understand how a rank's behavior fits with strategic goals. DoubleClick's "Performics 50: Search Trend Report" for Q4 2005 identifies some trends in the young SEM industry.

The report finds a 107 percent year-over-year growth in clicks on search campaigns in comparison to the same period in 2004. Active campaign keywords a experienced fourth quarter gains of 58 percent over Q3 data.

Recent reports from Nielsen//NetRatings show growth in both search and sponsored link impressions that are consistent with data in the search trend report.

Quarterly Keyword Distribution by CPC October 2004 October 2005
Click on graphic to view chart
While search and keyword campaigns increased, the cost-per-keyword (CPK) and cost-per-click (CPC) rose 114 percent in the fourth quarter. Over the holidays, the average CPK shot up from a September rate of $25.50 to $54.62 in December. The increase is likely due to seasonal effects and a decline in the use of lower-priced keywords.

Lower-priced keyword buys lessened over time, yet demand for top placement in paid search also relaxed. Pure-first-place (PFP), a term used for "keywords that maintain the first position on a search engine results page for the entire month," fell. In December, Internet users tended to click on results further down in the page.

"You don't necessarily have to be in the top position to bring in sales in December," said Chris Henger, VP of marketing and product development for Performics, a division of DoubleClick. "That is a strategy that certain marketers have been able to take advantage of."

The Performics 50 is a quarterly report of paid search campaigns taken from the average number of monthly clicks across all campaigns. The report excludes the very top and very bottom of the range. The top 50 are selected from the pool based on campaign size.

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Enid Burns

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