Paid Ads Drive A Third Of Traffic But Almost Half Of Search Revenues

Paid Ads Drive a Third of Traffic But Almost Half of Search Revenues

As online shopping continues to grow as the commerce method of choice for US consumers, so too does the efficacy of paid search for internet retailers. MarketLive Performance Index data shows that as paid search drove 37.6% of all search traffic in Q3 2013, the channel produced a disproportionate 45.8% of all search revenues. That suggests, as we’ve said in the past, that paid search ads get the clicks with the most intent to buy.


This was a 4.5% gain over the same period a year prior, when paid search accounted for 40.3% of search revenues. Online retailers are increasingly finding greater value in their paid search marketing campaigns.


Paid Ads Drive a Third of Traffic But Almost Half of Search Revenues image paid search share of revenues

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Mobile traffic to the sites analyzed increased 56% YoY, with revenue from mobile visitors growing 65%. Tablet traffic was segmented out and found to have grown almost as much as mobile, with a 47% YoY gain in traffic and 39% higher revenue.

Paid Search vs. Organic Search Revenue Trends


Sector snapshots reveal varying mixes of paid vs. organic search traffic and revenue, though the trend to greater revenue from paid search was clear:

  • In Apparel, Footwear & Accessories, paid search took 34% of traffic vs. organic search, yet generated 42% of revenue.
  • In Beauty & Health, 45% of traffic and 57% of revenue came from paid search.
  • For Brand Manufacturers, 40% of traffic was from paid search, accounting for 54% of revenue.
  • Brick & Mortar stores using online marketing saw 29% of traffic and 35% of revenue from paid search vs. organic.


Interestingly, the volume of organic search traffic to analyzed sites dropped 5.04% in Q3 2013 compared to the same period a year earlier. At the same time, paid search gained more traction as a traffic source, rising 9.64%.


5 Ways to Take Advantage of the Data


As organic search traffic becomes harder to come by, smart marketers are finding creative ways to connect with consumers closer to the point of purchase, whether online for e-commerce, or via mobile devices.


Marketers using paid search can see real gains in both better converting traffic and revenue by taking steps to optimize their campaigns and pairing high-intent keywords with compelling ad creative.


Here are 5 ways you can take advantage of these insights to improve your own PPC performance:


1. Focus on Higher Intent Commercial Keywords


“High intent” indicates that a consumer is in the right frame of mind to take action and is more likely to convert. Appearing in front of the right audience helps you bring more qualified traffic to your site. So bid on terms that are closer to the end of the funnel, like “best email marketing software,” versus informational queries like “what is email?”


Zeroing in on these high-intent keyword terms helps you allocate more of your PPC budget to the terms most likely to result in a lead or sale.


2. Quality Score Is Your Friend – Believe It


Seriously, if there’s one thing you need to invest a bit of time into and truly understand, it’s how Quality Score works. It lowers your CPC and CPA, as well as improving your ad position. High QS correlates strongly to overall account success. Here are two recent articles to help you out:

  • Case Study: The Anatomy of a Killer Quality Score
  • Hacking AdWords: Winning at AdWords the Weird Way


3. Understand How To Address Customer Needs Through Ad Copy


Use a structured brainstorming process like Perry Marshall’s Swiss Army Knife to discover how your brand or product can best resonate with potential customers.


Paid Ads Drive a Third of Traffic But Almost Half of Search Revenues image swiss army knife ad writing1


After identifying your customer needs, wants and pain points, you can then create compelling copy to demonstrate how and why you are the best choice to solve their problem.


4. Trim the Fat


Achieving this incremental growth and steadily improving your performance requires that you pay attention to what isn’t working, even as you focus on what is. Use negative keywords to weed out terms for which you earn clicks but not conversions. Dump your lowest performing ads and reallocate budget to your breadwinners. Clean up your low converting landing pages. Make sure that each and every step along your customer’s path to purchase is simple, pain-free and compelling.


5. Track and Optimize for Conversions


If CPC is the metric by which you judge AdWords success, you’re missing a giant piece of the puzzle. Ads may generate a great volume of clicks, but still fail to result in leads or sales; you still pay for those clicks, whether or not they’re producing revenue for your company.


Conversion tracking in AdWords is a powerful tool that allows you to track key actions as a result of your PPC efforts. Learn why AdWords conversion tracking is important and how to set it up.


Bonus Tip: Use the Free AdWords Grader


Analyze the health of your Google AdWords account today to discover opportunities for PPC optimization to drive revenue.


By Miranda Miller


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