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SE's and "buyers"

 5:28 am on Mar 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

Have any of you seen studies with percentages on where most "buyers" come from in terms of engines & directories?

I know this is pretty sweet info. that's probaby not available out there, but I was just wondering if any of you had come accross something like this.

If not, do you have any hypothesis?

I know this would be dependent on the industry...for example, I know RC gets good customers from NBCi (travel)...AOL has been great for us for some products...Yahoo is a tremendous source of traffic but doesn't always result in good conversions...MSN sends great customers...

Any thoughts?



 6:16 am on Mar 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've never seen one, and I'm not sure it would be possible to come up with any accurate numbers for such a broad topic. It is however, pretty common to see significant differences in conversion rates across search engines that have equal listings. But for the most part, I think that these differences are far more product specific rather than buyer vs. non buyer.

The one exception is/was GoTo. Before the partner deals, I always found them to generate higher conversions. People searching at GoTo were far more likely to be looking to purchase a product or service.

Unfortunately, that is nolonger the case. The partner deals have had a very negative effect on GoTo's effectiveness. It turns out that the person clicking on your paid link at AOL just isn't the same qualified visitor.

In another thread, someone mentioned that GoTo was planning on providing more advanced tracking features so that advertisers could view their click thru data by partner. If they would let you submit a unique url for each partner, and then show how many clicks vs. searches individual partners provided, it would be a great tool that would help answer your question.

I guess we'll have to wait and see. I personally don't think there is any way they would release a tool like that. When their advertisers saw how much more they were paying for such a poor conversion rate, they wouldn't stick around long. :)


 6:29 am on Mar 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

To clarify something I mentioned, the GoTo communications I received never hinted that a public tool would be available -- just that more detailed clicktracking might be offered to the account holder in the future.

I am planning a campaign for a new client that will use the GoTo recommendation, adding ?src=goto to the url. So we will be able to pull out more specific data from the client's server logs. Is anyone already doing this?


 2:46 pm on Mar 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Have any of you seen studies with percentages on where most "buyers" come from in terms of engines & directories?

As luck would have it, I had this very question a few years ago. In July, 1998, I took the logs from my 5 major clients to find this out. I used sales I could actually track (i.e., those who bought on a trip directly trackable from search engines). Keep in mind, though, that not all consumers buy upon their discovery of the site. Presumably, many comparison shop and come back. Those are not counted in this study.

Between January 1, 1998 and June 30, 1998, there were 1,665 sales which fit that criterion.

stamp collecting site (821 sales)
AOL 331
Yahoo 262
AltaVista 151
Excite 37
InfoSeek 30
Magellan 10

gifts and collectibles (646 sales)
Yahoo 327
AOL 142
AltaVista 59
Excite 49
InfoSeek 43
Magellan 26

software reseller (127 sales)
AltaVista 57
InfoSeek 41
Magellan 15
Excite 6

computer hardware (54 sales)
AltaVista 24
InfoSeek 11
Excite 7
Yahoo 7

shotcrete (17 sales)
Yahoo 12
Excite 3
AltaVista 2

Because of the vast changes in search engines as well as ecommerce in general, I doubt that these have pinpoint relevancy, but it is a place to start.


 3:04 pm on Mar 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

thats really interesting stuff Laisha.. thanks..

It seems AOL was good for hobbyists, Yahoo for the mass market/family and AV for the computer profs... I wonder whether google has taken over the AV mantle for that one now?


 3:52 am on Mar 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

"As luck would have it, I had this very question a few years ago."...guess I'm a few years behind on this :-)

My observations line up with you on that one chiyo/laisha...that's a good summary...I was wondering the same thing about google...it's gotten to popular lately...how? what are the demographics? are they buyers or mainly browsers, people doing research?
What about MSN? Anyone have experience with MSN?


 6:39 am on Mar 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

just a guess, but given some evidence as well as the fact that google referrers seem to sign up more for our email lists and surveys, II'd say Google is working for academic/ research type sites too...

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