A recent study by the giant of internet searching, Google, claims to have found evidence to suggest that pay per click (PPC) advertising really does increase the number of visits to an advertiser’s website, rather than divert traffic that would otherwise have come in through organic anyway, and therefore represents a worthwhile investment.
The true merits of PPC – whereby an advertiser places a sponsored link on a search engine results page (SERP) and pays the search engine host each time a visitor clicks on that sponsored link – have often been challenged by those who claim that just as many surfers who enter a particular keyword would still end up visiting the advertiser’s site had the sponsored link not been set up, and therefore PPC was not worthwhile.
As part of its study, Google monitored public search patterns both with and without sponsored links being in place. According to the findings of Google’s study, around 89% of visits to an advertiser’s website are over and above – or incremental to – those which would have taken place had there been no PPC sponsored site in place at all.
Google’s study found, however, that the number of incremental clicks can be reduced (and a sponsored PPC site therefore less relevant) when a non-sponsored – or ‘organic’ – link is located in close proximity to the sponsored link on the SERP; or, where the search keyword being used is a brand name.
The study also identified incidences of seasonal variations in incremental click traffic for some advertisers.
Google has further advised advertisers to monitor actual conversion rates as well as the number of sponsored site visits in order to help gauge the true value of PPC advertising.