Natural Search accounts for 94% of Search Engine clicks, PPC 6%

By Sam Silverwood Cope, Aug 28th, 2012

share of PPC and natural search clicksWith further proof that successful natural search is the overwhelming method of attracting users to your website, a recent unprecedented study has claimed that Paid search or PPC only accounts for 6% of total successful clicks from search engines, against natural search which accounts for the remaining 94% of clicks.

The research, compiled by GroupM UK and carried out with Nielsen’s statistics, stated that of the 1.4bn successful search queries in UK search engines in June 2012, the vast majority clicked on natural search results as opposed to PPC.

Based on 28m searchers in the UK, the study is the first in the UK to reveal click through rates (CTR) by natural search position (the position in the Search Engine results page or SERPs) for branded and non-branded search terms and how these click through rates change depending on industry verticals and user demographics.

This data furthers the argument that Natural Search is a superior method to gaining traffic from search engines and that users are increasingly reluctant to click on advertising links despite around 90% of all investment going into the PPC method of web traffic targetting. (all graphics are from the original infographic by Nielsen and GroupM).

Natural Search Versus PPC click through rates:

This data furthers the argument that Natural Search is a superior method to gaining traffic from search engines and that users are increasingly reluctant to click on advertising links despite around 90% of all investment going into the PPC method of web traffic targetting. (all graphics are from the original infographic by Nielsen and GroupM).

The data disseminated in short:

  • PPC only accounts for 6% of total successful clicks from search engines
  • 80% of branded searches will click on the number 1 result
  • 48% of all searches will click on the first result of the SERPS
  • 2.48 – the average amount of keywords per search: 2.48
  • Women are more likely to click on PPC than men
  • 23% of people who click on PPC are in the over 55s group
  • Only 5% are in the below 17 year olds web user group

Branded versus Non-Branded on Natural Search

The chart below shows the click through rates of branded and non-branded searches in search engines and which results within the SERPs users were most likely to click on.

branded versus non branded searches

The research stated that: “For branded terms the majority of searchers are far more likely to click on the first three results than any remaining results. For non-branded terms searchers are more likely to look past the first 3 positions on the search engines results page.”

This data lends itself to the argument that brands need to create an ecosystem of results within the SERPs. Despite 90% of users clicking on the first three results, there are a remaining 7 positions where the brand could optimise their assets and gain ownership of the remaining positions in Google. This could be done by optimising social network pages or global sites while taking greater ownership over wikipedia listings or PR articles.

Natural Search Click through rates by industry Vertical

When breaking down the data further by industry vertical the results are startling – showing that being in position one to three for the airline industry is more critical than being in the top positions for electronic and consumer goods. The data shows that depending on the industry search behaviour can drastically change.

natural search click through rates by vertical

Click Through Rates and decisions made by the searcher therefore alter greatly depending on industry, what they are shopping for or how optimised and competitive the returning results are.

We’ll do some tests on these and see who is performing for what and see why users are changing their search behaviour depending on industry.

The three highest click through ratios by industry for positions one, two and three were:

  • Airlines 78%
  • Broadcast media 64%
  • Auto Manufacturing 60%

The three lowest click through ratios by industry for positions one, two and three were:

  • Current Events 50%
  • Home and Garden: 42%
  • Computers and Consumer Electronics 39%

Who clicks on Search Engine PPC adverts

Well 90% of the time we click on the natural search results, so what are the demographics of who is clicking on the PPC results.

breakdown of PPC clicks by age and gender

So it seems the older we get the more likely we are to click on advertising through PPC in the search engines. 65% of people who click on PPC are over 35 years old. This means that the highly lucrative advertising areas for the below 35s are not actually clicking on the links. Is the messaging wrong? Is this because younger people know what the PPC area is and are less likely to use PPC? Is it more to do with the types of things they search?

All data and graphics was compiled by Nielsen, GroupM and Neo Mammalian Studios.

 

 

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