Google Study: 89% of Paid Search Clicks are Incremental

The search engine result page has become one of the most valuable landscapes for businesses of all sizes and types because it drives more customers to their website than almost any other channel. That’s why establishing your presence on these pages is so important. One of the biggest questions that businesses ask themselves is if they need to pay for that presence and if so, how much of it do they need to pay for. The answer to that question really revolves around clicks and what mix (organic vs. paid) generates the most. Well according to Google’s recent Search Ads Pause research study, the majority of paid search clicks are actually incremental – 89% to be exact. Or in other words, 89% of the visits to the advertiser’s site from ad clicks are not replaced by organic clicks when the search ads are paused. I’m sure that many of you are thinking the same thing that I thought after seeing this. Of course Google is going to tell us all that paid search clicks are incremental. However, after digging into their research a bit further it does give you the confidence and reassurance that you’ve been looking for all these years. One of the most interesting elements of this study was the way that Google broke out these incremental clicks by organic position. The proportion of incremental clicks varied from 50% (when the organic result was ranking #1) to 96% (when the organic result was ranked lower than 4). Even when the organic result ranked between 2 and 4, which are very productive positions, the percentage of incremental clicks from paid search was still 82%. It is very interesting to think that even if you’re ranking #1 for a top keyword that there is still opportunity to capture 50% more clicks with the presence of an ad right above that. This research also gives you the confidence to be aggressive from a paid search perspective on keywords that you’re struggling with on the organic side. As much as we’d like to think that having a strong presence organically is enough, knowing that there are many more clicks out there for the taking makes paid search a very valuable tool for growth. So the next time you’re thinking about turning off your brand campaign in AdWords think about that 50% that you might be saying goodbye to.

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