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The author

Epiphany Search

As a PPC Analyst, I often get asked about the true value of advertising via paid search ads, especially when a client may already have a strong presence in the natural organic listings, particularly for brand-related traffic. The common misconception by many PPC clients is that a large proportion of search traffic generated through sponsored links may be effectively cannibalising the traffic that may have otherwise been generated organically, and by simply stopping the PPC campaign, the loss in traffic would be absorbed by the organic traffic.

I am here to reiterate that this is a myth and simply not true. I'd also like to reinforce that the introduction of a search campaign does not have a dramatic or negative impact on the amount of organic traffic driven to a website. In fact, there may even be a slight “Halo” effect from running both a search and an organic advertising campaign, where the sum of the parts are greater than solely running individual campaigns. Google has recently released the results of a huge research project conducted between October 2010 and March 2011, which encompassed more than 400 clients across the US, UK, Germany and France. Google studied the click volumes to the clients websites when the paid search ads were turned on and off for equal periods. When the PPC ads were reintroduced, they provided an 89% incremental increase in search traffic compared to just advertising via the organic listings. This is quite a statement as I am sure you will agree. This effectively states that PPC search ads only reduce the organic traffic by an average 11%. However, when the paid search ads were turned on, the sample of clients examined saw an 89% increase in the total search traffic to their sites. This study has been very interesting and reinforces the value of PPC advertising, but it would have been more useful if the data was broken down into “Brand” and “Non-Brand” traffic to demonstrate this relationship here. However, we are currently conducting a small scale investigation within our agency, so watch this space for the results of this trail. Always happy to receive comments, so please feel free to leave some! Andrew Hudson PPC Analyst