Paid search has only 9% edge in conversion rates over organic search

The results of a new study show that paid search has only a slight 9% edge in conversion rates over organic search. 

Median Order Conversion Rates at Business to Consumer E-Commerce Sites: Jan.-Aug. 2006
Marketing Channel        Conversion Rate
Paid Search                             3.40%
Organic Search                      3.13%

In a study of leading business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sites during the first eight months of this year, keywords bought on a pay-per-click basis at search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN – had a median order conversion rate of 3.40% at business-to-consumer e-commerce sites. This compared to a conversion rate of 3.13% for organic search results, defined as non-paid or natural search engine listings, during the same January-to-August timeframe, according to the WebSideStory Index, a compilation of e-commerce, site search and global Internet user trends. 

For both paid and organic search, you have highly qualified traffic that converts far above the overall conversion rate of about 2% for most e-commerce sites, says WebSideStory.  With conversion rates 50% or higher than overall site conversion rates, both paid and organic search remain a very important acquisition source for online marketers.
 
Sample Size and Methodology: More than 57 million search engine visits to nearly 20 major business-to-consumer e-commerce sites using WebSideStory’s on-demand web analytics technology. These sites generate an estimated $2.5 billion per year in online sales. Order conversions occurred during the same sessions.

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