Whitey - 9:03 am on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)
@randle/netmeg - Did you ever do any measurements on those relationships?
Clearly Google agree's with you [ and many others ] per their study:
Studies Show Search Ads Drive 89% Incremental Traffic
Posted by David Chan and Lizzy Van Alstine, Quantitative Management Team 2011
Advertisers often wonder whether search ads cannibalize their organic traffic. In other words, if search ads were paused, would clicks on organic results increase, and make up for the loss in paid traffic? Google statisticians recently ran over 400 studies on paused accounts to answer this question.
In what we call “Search Ads Pause Studies”, our group of researchers observed organic click volume in the absence of search ads. Then they built a statistical model to predict the click volume for given levels of ad spend using spend and organic impression volume as predictors. These models generated estimates for the incremental clicks attributable to search ads (IAC), or in other words, the percentage of paid clicks that are not made up for by organic clicks when search ads are paused.
The results were surprising. On average, the incremental ad clicks percentage across verticals is 89%. This means that a full 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused. This number was consistently high across verticals. The full study can be found on [googleresearch.blogspot.com.au...] .
I looked around for some reaction to this release by Google, and it was pretty much a dead silence out there in the SEO/SEM community. One thing I noticed was the potential behaviour of brands in the mix:
Our analysis does not include an estimate for incremental conversions. Other factors such as the ranking of the organic search result or the strength of brand awareness of the search term could influence the IAC estimate.
@Walkman - They way I read it, they figured out that if you stop advertising you will lose (total) traffic, and lots of it as other people's paid ads will take it. [webmasterworld.com...]
There was an update to this study:
Posted by David Chan, Statistician and Lizzy Van Alstine, Research Evangelist March 2012
While these findings provide guidance on overall trends, results for individual advertisers may vary. It’s also important to note that the study focuses on clicks rather than conversions. We recommend that advertisers employ randomized experiments
But it's in Google's interest to provide an expert study that market's it's own product I guess. I did see some other quality studies that were inconclusive, either way.
Those are very good points you raised about doing all possible to not be reliant on the SERP's, so maybe it's academic to question it.