New Google Study – Organic Rankings Impact on PPC Advert Clicks
I’m often asked whether there is a correlation between organic rankings and PPC ads. Does my organic rank affect my paid ads click through rate? Do I need PPC if I’m ranked number 1? Will a good PPC performance help improve my organic listing?
My generic answer has always been to treat organic and paid as two very different beasts and as such to focus on how you generate the best return from each and not worry too much about what effect on each other they may or may not be having.
Well just yesterday, Google released details of a new study they have conducted looking at how often ad impressions are accompanied by associated organic results and how the incrementality of ad clicks varies with the rank of those results.
The results are quite interesting and are summed up in this neat little graphic Google have produced:
The following highlights can be taken from the results:
- 81% of ad impressions occur in the absence of an associated organic result on the first page of the SERPs.
- 66% of ad clicks occur in the absence of an associated organic result on page 1 of the SERPs. All ad clicks in these first two situations are incremental.
- For advertisers who appear position 1 organically, 50% of ad clicks are incremental.
- For advertisers whose organic search results are in 2nd to 4th position, 81% of ad clicks are incremental.
- For advertisers appearing in organic position of 5 or lower, 96% of ad clicks are incremental.
I believe the most interesting statistics to come out of this study are points 3-5. The percentage of incremental clicks in this case means the amount of ads clicks replaced by organic clicks when search ads are paused. Perhaps most notably, if you’re organically listed as number 1 and switch off your PPC ads, only half of the clicks you would have gained via PPC will click on your organic listing in the event of your PPC ad not being available.
Now despite these findings being published by Google, I would still take these results with a pinch of salt, as Google themselves state in the study that results may differ for individual advertisers and they also don’t seem to detail in the study whether these results are based on branded or non branded searches, or even if the results are a blend of both.
What you can take from these findings in light of the percentage of clicks your site wouldn’t gain organically if your PPC ads were paused is that there are potentially 3 very different types of searchers. Some who prefer to click paid ads, some who prefer organic and some who will flitter between the two, perhaps influenced by the relevancy of the paid ad text or meta data in the organic listing.
With regards to online strategy, you wouldn’t want to isolate any one of these groups of searchers so the best strategy to ensure maximum exposure and minimum loss of clicks from Google is to have both organic and paid listings.