Seeing Between theLines…oftheSearchand the ClickWhat you will gain from this reportSearch marketing is an intense and competitivebattlefield, and for those of us in the trenches it canfeel like being dropped in an unknown locationwithout a map or GPS to guide us.To date, the ability to track actual consumer behaviorfrom a search to a click has been virtually non-existent.Because search engine results pages (SERPs) aredifferent for every consumer based on past searchbehavior, location and social connections, capturingcompetitive intelligence is increasingly difficult. Forsearch marketers, this means little to no visibility intowhat is happening on the SERP such as who is listedfirst or what words were used to perform the search.Using Compete Search Engine Results Page Analyzer(SERPA) data, this report provides insight into thepotential impact of increasing search marketing ROIby analyzing real, consumer engagement by exploringpaid vs organic listings, illustrating the importanceof position on the page, and understanding theimportance of ranking first.
1The basics…Search marketers have two approaches they cantake in order to help drive traffic to their site: (1)optimize their site for search through a combinationof relevant content, tags, and links to and from theirsite to leading sites in the industry (Search EngineOptimization, or SEO), and (2) pay for ads onsearch engines by bidding on search terms(Search Engine Marketing, or SEM).One downside of SEO is that your site is at themercy of search engines to define how relevantyour site is to a particular search term as definedby a ‘quality score’. Your quality score could bemade better or worse based on the variablesthe search engine is using in its algorithm, andunfortunately, marketers have limited control overwhere their site appears in the results.Through SEM, search marketers manage a portfolioof terms, both branded and non-branded, in orderto help drive leads through search. Because mostbidding is blind, marketers have little visibility intowho their competitors are and how they stack up.The traditional approaches to measuring yourbrand’s search marketing effectiveness has beenthrough collecting information about the referrals toyour site through internal tools, and if one wantedsecondary research, to purchase data collectedthrough ‘spidering’.Spidering attempts to mimic real search activity byhaving a computer scrape the text of SERPs based ona pre-loaded list of search terms. The shortcomingswith this approach are that it is limited to the quality ofthe inputs (i.e., search terms) that were pre-populatedinto the computer by the programmer and does notreflect actual search behavior performed by theinternet browsing population.Compete’s approach to understanding consumerbehavior in the search space leverages the actualsearch behavior of its panel of consumers in orderto capture the full breadth of terms people usewhen searching. This report answers questionssuch as:• What share of SERPs have ads?• What share of listings are organic?• Where do the majority of people click on the SERP?
SERPs with no adsSERPs with at least 1 ad55%45%2More than half of all SERPs have at least one adCompete analyzed 10s of millions of search engineresults pages generated by actual consumers inour U.S. panel in Q4 2011. We found that morethan half of all search engine result pages containedat least one paid ad somewhere on the SERP.The takeaway is that most searches performed bypeople online are an opportunity for you or acompeting brand to influence consumer behavior.Search is a highly competitive market and if yourbrand is not aware of its standing in the market,you may be missing out on thousands of potentialnew customers to the competition.Share of SERPsWith andWithoutAds
85%organic15%paid15%6%9%4%54321Share of Listings by Type Share of Organic Clicks by Rank53%first link33Organic is a fiercely competitive place to playLooking at all of the listings displayed with the 10sof millions of SERPs generated by Compete’s panelwe found the overwhelming majority of listings areorganic (85%). The remaining 15% constitutedpaid listings. If your brand is competing withinorganic listings alone, you are going to be in fiercecompetition with the competing firms, publishers,blogs, and the long tail of web content. Since thevast majority of listings on a SERP are organic,and the majority of clicks are on the first listing,it’s imperative that brands strategy includingconstantly monitoring results due to the ongoingevolution of search engine algorithms.A good organic search strategy should:• involve good on-page SEO so search enginescan find you• include a blog that is updated often with insightspertinent to your industry (in order to increaseinbound links and the number of pages crawledby search engines)• utilize site links and micro-sites to win more real estate on SERPsA better strategy will use paid to complementorganic to ensure coverage on the SERP andto improve opportunities for clicks.Share of ListingTypes and Share of Clicks
24%15%61%righttopWhere Advertisers Appear Where Consumers ClickShare of paid listings Share of paid clicksbottom85%2%13%righttopbottom4When it comes to paid...you want to be on topHow important is paid position (either Top, Right,or Bottom) for capturing clicks? The right hand sideof the SERP is where the majority of paid listingsare served (61%) versus approximately 1 in 4 paidlistings on the top of the page. However, despite theright side owning the majority of paid listings, it isthe top of the page that wins on clicks.The overwhelming majority of paid clicks occuron top paid listings (85%) versus only 13% ofpaid clicks occurring on the right hand side.The majority of marketers are conceding the topspot through less aggressive bidding and adrelevancy, but should be aware they are losing outon the most valuable SERP position (5x more clicksthan the right and bottom combined).Distribution of Paid Listings vs Paid Clicks
15%9%4%3%2%1%1%1%59%first linkDistribution of Paid Clicks by Position and RankTopRightBottom123121234Position and Rank Click Distribution55Being first matters tooWhile being in the top position is vital for receivingclicks, it’s also important to be ranked first regardlessof position on the page. Of all paid clicks, 59% occuron the first listing on the top of the page while only15% are on the second listing on the top. While it’sbetter to appear first on the right (4% of all paid clicks)versus second on the right (3%), the third listing in thetop position is better than any on the right (9%).
6Looking aheadThere is a strategic battle going on in SERPs and every decision has a dramatic impact on results. Most, if notall, search marketing efforts need to prove a ROI as there is a very definite spend, whether it is SEO or SEM.Compete’s new Search Engine Page Results Analyzer (SERPA) allows an advertiser to better understand whothey are competing against and gives them a better idea of what their potential ROI would be on upping theirbids. This allows search marketers to come to the table with better competitive information and in turn makebetter decisions and tactical changes to their search strategies on an ongoing basis. You don’t have to wonderwhether your competitor is outperforming you, you’ll know. By capturing millions of individual search listingsper day including natural and paid listings across the major search engines to accurately represent consumersearch behavior, SERPA can help answer questions like:Competitive Intelligence:• Measure which advertisers own the greatest amount of SERP real estate• Understand which keywords your competitors are focused on• Understand whether your competitor is strong in SEM, SEO, or both• Compare ad copies to see what differentiates your campaigns from others and the results competitors are getting from their campaigns• Quantify the impact to your organization when you are not running a paid campaign or do not serve a paid ad on a keyword set and your competitors areBenchmark Performance:• View paid and natural performance and gain insight into the effectiveness of SEM and SEO• Analyze share of click-throughs across all SERP pages• Understand how % of SERP listings and # of listings affect clickthrough rate (CTR)• Benchmark your CTR vs. competitors• Contrast performance on Google vs. other search engines• Evaluate consumer engagementTrend Performance:• Ability to see how performance across key search performance indicators trends through seasonal high andlow points, as well as what competitors may be doing to improve performance through troughs and capitalizeon peaks in search activity
7About Kantar Media CompeteKantar Media Compete is passionate about understanding consumers to inspire great marketing. KantarMedia Compete helps the world’s top brands improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millionsof consumers. Leading advertisers, agencies and publishers rely on Kantar Media Compete’s products andservices to create engaging online experiences and highly profitable advertising campaigns. Kantar MediaCompete’s online panel-the largest in the industry-makes the web as ingrained in marketing as it is in people’slives. Kantar Media Compete is located in Boston, MA, with offices across the US, UK and France. For moreinformation, please visit http://www.compete.com/.Learn moreFor more information about Compete’s role in advancing the online marketing effectivenessin online services, please contact:Ranjan (RJ) ButaneySenior Director of Business Development,Agency Publisher Solutionsrbutaney@compete.com617.933.5620Matt RedmondClient Services Director, Agency Publisher Solutionsmredmond@compete.com617.933.5675David Weigner-LodahlSenior Associate, Agency Publisher Solutionsdweigner@compete.com617.933.5750Become a fan on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFollow us on Google+Find us on LinkedInSubscribe to us on YouTube