• http://www.dock29.com Chris Bernard

    Test the vertical. Our agency has found that this is the case in only about 20% of industries; specifically service or highly competitive industries. Also, from our client data, we have found that in almost ALL cases we can literally just keep the account “active” with a max spend of a couple of bucks a month without seeing degradation in organic rankings. It would appear that the “amount” of spending doesn’t impact the rankings but just that the account is “active.”

  • http://www.coconutheadphones.com/ tedives

    The study, and the followup, are, in my opinion, misleading to the casual observer and tend to overstate the benefits of paid search.

    Most marketers would likely assume that “incremental clicks” must mean “incremental over organic clicks”. But a close reading of the definition of the term “Incremental Ad Clicks” the study and its follow up have concocted shows that is uses, oddly, the *paid search clicks* as the comparison base.

    In the example on page 2 of the original study they posit a scenario of 66.7% “incremental” clicks, but if you instead used the organic clicks as the base instead of the paid ones, the result would be only 200/500 = 40% “incremental” clicks.

    I think advertisers, when they read “incremental”, would assume it means “the increment over what would have happened had I not advertised at all – to start with”, not “the increment over what happened when I advertised.”

    Just read the example in the study and think about it.

  • http://vesica.ws Vesica

    “Incremental lift” in traffic does not mean better quality or paying visitors. In the world of ecommerce driven by SaaS for the B2B model, the results of online advertising cannot be measured accurately. In fact, selling advertising on the basis of quantity alone is no different from mailing a flyer to 100,000 people in a postcode!

  • http://www.Searchify.ca OlafPijl

    Good point, Vesica and Tedives! However, in my experience SEA often leads to higher-quality visitors in comparison to SEO. More pageviews/visit, longer TOS, etc.

    I’m quite surprised with the amount of visitors coming from SEA, in comparison to SEO. My accounts usually generate a lot more traffic from SEO then from SEA. This makes me wonder about the SEA campaign they’ve used. How generic is it? How important is the brand? How much of an influance is the seasonality they mentioned in the report?

    Although I agree that SEO usually benefits from SEA (more on-page exposure, consumer trust, etc.), this report seems to present their results a bit biased.

  • Sean

    I’ve read this a few times now and it would appear that this study is suggesting that if you buy ads you will get more clicks. I thought that was a given; if you turn on a tap water comes out.

    What it doesn’t say anything about is the quality of those clicks; does that increase your sales in relation to the cost of getting those clicks?

  • http://www.bgtheory.com Brad Geddes

    @tedives When the first study was published a few months ago – it was right before Tim Mayer (who is much smarter at math than myself) and I were doing a session on combining SEO & PPC. One of his points was that the denominator in Google’s study was incorrect.

    Overall, there is still a net positive on being in SEO & PPC; its just the incremental click number was lower and less dramatic. I think the same thing is happening again with this study.