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Natural vs. PPC?
Any research on effectiveness of Natural vs. PPC?

 3:13 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know of any research that compares the effectiveness of natural search vs. PPC?



 2:15 pm on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

don't rember where but somewhere it was stated that the CTR rate is 1:6


 2:44 pm on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, I remeber at SES 2004 in New York, one of the Jupiter Research analysts made a comment that 5 out of 6 commercial referrals (referrals that result in a purchase) come from natural search...

I wrote it down verbatim, but I haven't seen anything backing this up. I have no idea where the above statement came from... what research?


 8:42 pm on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

A September 2002 Comscore survey of 5000 ecommerce domains found that 78% of Google's click-throughs are from natural search and 22% from AdWords.


 8:21 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

thanks shorebreak!


 8:59 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another report (or the same one) also mentioned, though, that paid search click-throughs convert 3-5X better than natural listings click-throughs, so all in all that tells me PPC is more valuable.


 9:08 pm on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

More data, this time from a survey iProspect conducted:



 9:35 pm on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nice link Shorebreak.

Does anyone remember when Y started showing ads on the side of the page? Those numbers look pretty accurate, except for Y - with their page layout, I'd expect the CTR to be a little higher for PPC ads.


 12:50 am on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Back in September 2002 CPM and banners ruled the roost. Adwords was a fledgling offer, so it was to be expected that the results would be swayed more to natural than paid.


 1:05 am on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I know that graphic banners are lucky to get 2% CTR and that is considered real good. From my experience organic gets a higher ctr than ppc all things equal. Meaning number one for both. There really is no way to get stats for this. It is very different for everybody. There are so many factors. Are you number one for both? How many other ppc ads are there? How many other PPC ads are at top? Is it an industry like software or phone cards where people will go to many sites and just pick the cheapest? How good is each adverisements text? There is no right answer? You just have to do both and analize your stats and come up with the best deal for you. It's like trying to guess exactly where a dime will land when you drop it in a pool.


 9:53 am on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I did read an article which I can't seem to find now that was a review of an article on PPC.

The review stated that the PPC article had been financed by overture and google adwords.

The article itself stated such things that PPC had a click-thru rate 3 to 4 times raw listings had, that the conversion rate was also 3 to 4 times, and that PPC generated 10 to 20 times as much traffic.

Who would want organic SERPs after that?

The review claimed that the sites included in the article had not been optimized for the search engines and that they ranked poorly if at all for the keywords they spend advertising dollars on.

The review found that the sites in the survey only ranked high for non-money keywords, not for competitive keywords, such that a motel might get a #1 rank for "sheets cleaned daily" rather than for "potomic resort" or such. So, of course the PPC generated 20 times as much traffic, because the sites weren't listed in the SE's for money terms. The click-thru rate was low because the listings were way down in the SERPs (we all know the #1 position gets the most clicks), and that the conversion rate was low because those looking for such things as "sheets cleaned daily" were much less likely to buy a vacation than someone looking for "great scuba locations".

It was a great review, but I can't find it.

Finally, the review used the numbers that were used in the article to show that even if the numbers exposed were accurate, they still showed organic listings to be about 50 times as effective dollar-for-dollar.


 5:34 pm on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

The article itself stated such things that PPC had a click-thru rate 3 to 4 times raw listings had, that the conversion rate was also 3 to 4 times, and that PPC generated 10 to 20 times as much traffic.

Not discounting that you read the article, just the validity of what it claimed.

I would have a hard time believing an article that made those claims.

I can see the conversion rate being higher for well written ads, as in SEO, you can come up in SERPS for all kinds of unrelated queries to your actual KWs.

However, I really don't think CTR of ads is 3-4 that of SERPS. I've read a lot of studies, and nothing that I remember has claimed that kind of PPC CTR.

The fact you think it's done by both G and OV really makes me want to read it if anyone comes across it. I don't remember them ever doing a study together - as I think that alone would make a few headlines.


 7:30 pm on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

A few things:

Kevin Lee's review of the study -
Includes 4X higher CTR for paid vs organic

Overture PR touting its value vs Google -

Overture touting PPC in general -

Overture touting PPC over other online ad formats -

-The Librarian #:^)


 6:18 am on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just keep those good links coming, Mr Librarian :)

The more I read about other people's studies, the more I wonder if I tossed some darts at a board and wrote down the numbers - if they would also look significent in an article format.

"I looked into the 8ball, shook it violently, and asked it if G or OV would convert better today. It replied, 'outlook uncertain'. So I picked up some darts - closed my eyes, and said 'This one is for G', and threw it. Quickly peaking to note it's placement, I threw again for OV. Thinking, I wanted even more numbers, I tossed another one for SERP. I hoisted a harp, and took a sip before learning my fate.

Today, I will get 20% of my clicks from G, 18% from O, and 50% from SERP.

I guess I'll compare the numbers after another beer."


 8:33 am on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would have a hard time believing an article that made those claims.

That's exactly what the review was about. I was talking about two things. 1) An article with some ridiculous claims sponsored by PPC vendors, and 2) A review of that article that ripped it to shreds.

The conclusion was there was no substitute for organic SERPs, and that the return on the dollar was overwhelmingly better. I thought the Review was posted at searchguild, but now I can't find it, seems they've changed their article listing format.

and here's to the harps.

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