Higher Paid Search Rank Not Always Better, Study Says

  |  October 12, 2004   |  Comments

Research by Atlas DMT finds that, in some cases, lower-ranked keywords had higher conversion rates.

The effect of rank on conversions from paid search listings differs depending on keyword volume. That’s the conclusion of the latest Digital Marketing Insight (DMI) research from aQuantive’s Atlas DMT.

"Many have hypothesized that conversion rates might actually rise at lower ranks, theorizing that users clicking on lower listings are more qualified prospects, but this approach turns out to be neither entirely right nor wrong," said Young-Bean Song, director of analytics for Atlas DMT and its research and education arm, The Atlas Institute.

The research confirmed that, for high-volume keywords, conversion rates generally fall as rank decreases. However, when looking at the bottom 80 percent of keywords based on click volume, conversion rates often converted at higher levels than the top ranked listings.

For example, at Google, ranks 8 through 10 for low volume keywords had about 30 percent higher conversion rates than the top ranking. While at Yahoo’s Overture, low volume keywords showed sustained conversion rates across all top 10 ranks.

"Every marketing medium has the fundamental trade-off between volume and efficiency, and search is no exception," Song said. "Understanding factors such as rank on traffic and conversion provides marketers tools to better control costs, while maximizing targeted traffic and sales."

Atlas DMT, an operating unit of aQuantive, released research in July focused on how paid search engine rankings impact traffic. According to that research, there is about a ten times difference in potential traffic between the first and tenth paid search position rankings. Google showed a 40-percent drop between the first and second positions, while the difference on Overture was not so pronounced.

Utilizing data from Atlas Search, the company’s integrated search marketing and campaign management system, traffic representing more than 41 million clicks and 400 thousand keywords during July and August 2004 were analyzed. The analysis took into consideration advertisers’ "primary" conversion metric, which for most represented online sales, but also included conversions such as lead acquisitions, account sign-ups and requests for information.

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!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Newcomb

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

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...