Google Instant was introduced to the search engine on 8th September with quite a buzz surrounding it.
How will it impact PPC? What does this mean for SEO? Will my impressions sky rocket? These are a few of the immediate questions businesses and agencies across Europe were asking themselves.
A recent study by Marin Software suggested that the outlook was good, so we decided to delve deeper into our results to find out how our clients were, if at all, affected.
Marin Software's study surmised:
"Overall impressions and clicks for paid search ads jumped more than 9% and 5% respectively, while overall advertiser costs rose less than 2%. Average CPC rates actually fell by 3%, while Marin found that conversions increased across the board. However, the company noted that ads for shorter queries saw more benefits than those for longer queries, suggesting that Google Instant is pushing users towards common phrases through its predictive engine."
We chose to look at the Insurance and Retail verticals specifically as this covers the majority of our client base. The clients were chosen carefully to ensure that any which had extensive testing live during the given time periods, were excluded. 2009 data, for the same weeks, has also been included to see if the change could be seasonal.
We saw clicks increase by 1.7% for Insurance and 10.1% for Retail. During 2009 the opposite was true for Insurance, while Retail also saw an increase then. We also found that our CTR for Insurance and Retail increased.
Quite the opposite has happened to the media cost, with decreases on for Retail and Insuranceincreasing, although this seems to be more of a seasonal trend.
Average CPC has improved for Insurance and Retail by 2% and 23% respectively.
Like the Marin's study, we sawconversions increase across both verticals.Retail also saw an increase of 140% this year compared to 52.8% last year, while Insurance had a 6.5% increase this year and a 0.7% decrease last year.
So that's the verticals, how about the head terms I hear you cry?
There was no conclusive evidence that it had either a positive or negative effect on the volume driving generic terms as a whole. However, the Retail vertical saw all figures move in the right directions and Insurance only saw a small decrease in responses.
As Google Instant is allowing users to find the right ad at the exact time they are typing, rather than using numerous search queries. It is thereby making the ads, which are showing throughout the entry of the search, more relevant and this could be why we have seen an increase in the number of clicks received in the retail and insurance sectors.
As we have also seen an increase in CTR for both of these sectors, this is a good indication as to why we have seen an increase in conversions, on the whole. If the user is shown a selection of ads throughout their search and then comes across yours, which is for exactly what they want, they are more likely to click and then convert. Spend levels have remained constant, taking into account seasonality, for the verticals which is due to average cpc's reducing as ads have become more relevant.
It has therefore been a positive progression for PPC. Helping the user have a better online experience and encouraging advertisers by making sure their ads are showing against the most relevant terms. This combined with a reduction in the average cpc and increased conversion.