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Google AdWords Forum

Overture Volume versus AdWords
Compare Overture and AdWords click traffic

 2:15 am on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Over the last two years we've found a drastic decline in the Overture volume versus AdWords. This means either that our AdWords campaign is getting more efficient / effective in comparison to Overture, or that Google's AdWords network is growing faster than Overture.

Any guess as to which is correct? What sort of Overture - AdWords ratios are others seeing? Overture is only about 25% the size of AdWords for us.



 2:24 am on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

This can be very industry dependent. I have some sites that do much better one or the other - and others that do roughly the same on both. A lot depends on the demographics you're trying to reach.


 4:06 am on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

ditto what eWhisper said. In general, the more B2B and the more tech-oriented, the greater the Adwords traffic. The more consumer and unsophisticated-web-user oriented, the greater the Overture traffic.


 7:01 am on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

For us overture is much less in terms of traffic and about the same in terms of conversions. With adwords it is easier to run a world wide campaign as U need to work with many different overture subs to get this done which makes adwords a lot more efficient.


 1:03 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Like Robsp we see a lot less traffic from Overture, but the conversion rates are about the same.

But I also find that Overture is generally more hands-on and time consuming. I much prefer the Google interface from an admin point of view.

Dave Collins


 1:20 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

We're a general retail ecommerce operation, and not particularly techie-oriented. Does anyone else have hard statistics to share?


 1:35 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Adwords 90% of traffic for us. Overture and others only about 10%. We are tech related though. Last 6 months of Overture have been disappointing.


 2:12 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Traffic is not my key metric - we count conversions per dollar spent (actually, dollars spent per conversion). And conversions cost us about 6 times as much (no exaggeration) with Adwords as with Overture.

When I do look at traffic, Adwords provides much more. But that traffic costs me about 50% more per lead than Overture and, as mentioned, converts at a much lower rate. So I end up with a much larger Adwords bill but a similar number of conversions.

>The more consumer and unsophisticated-web-user oriented, the greater the Overture traffic.

Insult Overture users all you want. They come to my site ready to buy high ticket items, and purchase them at a much higher rate than Adwords users. If you would like to think they are "unsophisticated," that's great. I'll welcome them at my site.:)

<<added - hmmm...this discussion has me back at Adwords trying out some new ideas. Love the traffic - just need to make it convert better - a lot better! <<added>>

[edited by: Mardi_Gras at 3:58 pm (utc) on Feb. 24, 2004]


 3:56 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd say that in general, you have to work for Google traffic because you don't bid for position. It depends on your CTR and max CPC. With Overture, as long as you're bidding in one of the top positions, you're getting syndication across their partners. Hence, more traffic.

Seems to me that it should make sense for Overture to bring in a larger volume out of the gate. However, once you optimize and find your niche in Google, it can bring in a significant amount as well.

Outside of volume, we see that Google Ads, while they may not initially deliver as much volume, perform much better in terms of click and conversion rates.

I'm sure the above experiences vary for many people.


 4:00 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I'm sure the above experiences vary for many people.

Absolutely - we all have different products, markets, and budgets. The key is to make the best use of what is available - whether it is Overture, Adwords, or whatever.


 4:02 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mardi_Gras, are you able to generate similar volumes at Overture as you are at AdWords? Do you use the same keywords (excepting plurals, etc.) at Overture as you do at AdWords?


 5:02 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ben - good questions. No, I can't get the same kind of click-through at Overture. I wish I could!

I do use the same keywords, but because of the differences in format the ads are not identical.

I have been over at Adwords tweaking some things and making one significant change that this thread made me think about. There was some wording in my ad that might have made people think "discount," which is not where we are. It was never what I intended, but what I imply and what surfers infer are not always the same! These types of discussions are always good for making me re-think things.

Hopefully, the changes I've made will limit my traffic a little bit and give a better conversion ratio.


 6:03 pm on Feb 24, 2004 (gmt 0)


Maybe you need to put the price in your adwords ad copy, that should keep the tire kickers away. It works for me.


 1:44 am on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ok, here's a radical (and slightly OT) opinion, considering that I work for AdWords.

Probably just another 'too much coffee' day for me. ;)

I've never been a big fan of 'either/or'. For example, I am not sure I understand those who 'hate' Macs because they use a PC. Or those who feel that they may have nothing good to say about a Chevrolet, because their family has always had Fords.

My personal opinion: try both AdWords and Overture, and after giving both a fair shot, keep the one that works. Or keep both, if both work.

Really, I think it is a good thing to get your exposure (and ROI) wherever you can find it.



 1:55 am on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)


That's not opinionated - just straightforward good info, AWA.

Now the question is, we know you have AdWords accounts - do you have OV ones as well?

not expecting an answer to that one

Taking the ROI where it comes from is why even some of the small PPCs that don't do well for most are worth it for others who get a positive ROI no matter where the clicks are coming from.


 1:58 am on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)


I appreciate your point of view AWA. Still, if my mix is incorrect it indicates that I'm not reaching my potential in one of the two main PPC venues.

Perhaps I should be like Trodda and have a 90-10 split, indicating that AdWords is loosing out on my business because I'm missing something. Alternatively, I could be doing poorly at Overture only because my bids are too low, or because I have insufficient keywords.

If you can provide general information on comparitive total impressions, or total clicks for mature ad campaigns for some of your customers I would appreciate it. Can you do this?


 3:27 am on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

AWA makes an excellent point.

I normally start new clients first with Adwords, then move to other PPC programs based on Adwords experience. Often the difference between Adwords and Overture is substantial. It's hard to run Overture for terms with low click values. I've got grandfathered programs on Overture that are essentially frozen because the value of the clicks isn't $0.10. I've got clients who can pay big money per click, and are paying Overture less than half of what they pay Adwords per click.

The important thing, to extend on AWA's post, is that these are not overlapping media. You get the user at the point of search, or you miss them. It's that simple. The Adwords business model works for you or it doesn't. The Overture busniess model works for you or it doesn't. It's not one or the other, per se. Yes, I've got clients running only Adwords and not Overture, but it's because clicks for them aren't worth a dime; they're worth $0.06. And if you're marketing to the UK the spread is even worse.

On the other hand, Overture is more time consuming to mangage than Adwords, leading to the odd situation where I'm billing more for managing Overture than Adwords, but my client is spending and getting more traffic on Adwords.


 1:12 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)


You make a good point, as have several others in this thread, but the points have been very similar. I think everyone agrees that Overture and AdWords have different distribution, and reach different audiences. No one can deny that.

It is also true that their audiences may have different preferences, that their ads are served in different ways (hence different copy) and there are a variety of factors affecting the impressions, click-thru rate, and conversion rate on traffic from Overture and AdWords.

Still, in a large campaign (thousands of clicks daily) shouldn't you be able to predict a relative factor for Overture versus Google? Even if the number of clicks is too elusive to predict, shouldn't the number of impressions be relatively predictable? There must be a factor (2:1, 1.5:1, 5:1?) of relative traffic for Overture versus AdWords.


 1:41 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ben, if I had a broad enough portfolio of clients I could probably do that for you. And when I take on a new client I will make a rough estimate for them based on the general factors folks have talked about above. But I don't have a list of them made up. The last one I quoted was for a UK B2B tech-oriented business and I estimated Adwords to Overture for them at 3:1. That's about the most lopsided estimate I've made or have data for. The other extreme is UK B2C services provider for whom the ratio is 2:3. When I made a prediction for them I estimated 3:2.


 2:42 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Still, in a large campaign (thousands of clicks daily) shouldn't you be able to predict a relative factor for Overture versus Google? Even if the number of clicks is too elusive to predict, shouldn't the number of impressions be relatively predictable? There must be a factor (2:1, 1.5:1, 5:1?) of relative traffic for Overture versus AdWords.

The smaller the campaign, obviousally the larger difference you can have.

The larger the campaign, the gap does shorten, but its still very industry dependent. Sometimes its not always the industry, but the way your website converts visitors as well.

A website that sells computers can cater to professionals or the 18-25 crowd that wants a different set of features. Some larger websites try to cater to both, and while some will succeed, often your homepage is one or the other - so it does make a difference.

For the campaigns I've seen that get over 1k clicks a day from both G and OV, more service oriented industries tend to do well in OV around a 3:2 ratio - but I've seen some as high as 4:1 and some where it's just about tied or G has a slight lead.

For tech industries, and more saavy professional industries, G generally does better - and the more technical, the better G does than OV, except when it includes things that are 18-25 demographic trendy or caters to less web savvy tech - then OV seems to do better.

I'm suprised more companies haven't set up duplicate sites with a different set of flash/layout for the OV crowd, and then a cleaner more professional looking interface for the G crowd. Of course, there are always SERP penalities to worry about - but I think marketing two very different websites for the same product would make a very interesting study of demographics and conversions.


 11:02 am on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

The big difference between Overture and Adwords is that Overture position doesn't depend on CTR, so you can put in words to put off timewasters, like cost if you're selling a luxury service.
Put the same words into Adwords and your ad ends up disabled; leave them out and ROI plummets. So you have to be much cleverer with Adwords... create ads that are just attractive enough.
And that's where we find problems with Adwords. Either too few clicks or too low ROI, never just right. Overture's easier to control in that sense.


 2:08 pm on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Either too few clicks or too low ROI, never just right.

After revising my ad to cut out shoppers, my CTR has now plummeted to 2%. Back to the drawing board. :(


 5:18 pm on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't panic Mardi_Gras,

Your CTR has to go down if you cut out the tire kickers! If you simply assume a more or less constant amount of impressions and a more focussed ad (with e.g the price in it) CTR will go down as you are selecting the buyers from the searchers.

The 2% really does not mean a thing (other than income to G), the question is how are conversions and ROI at your 2%?


 5:37 pm on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Your CTR has to go down if you cut out the tire kickers!

I recognize that, and I do appreciate the encouragement!

But my conversion rate does not seem to have gone up. But site traffic overall is down (on Overture as well - local travel site) so I'm going to let things go for a couple of days until I can get a better idea of what is/is not working.

I'll check back in for approval before panicking :)


 8:00 pm on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can always try some more different creatives :-)

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