Interaction of Paid and Organic Search

How Paid and Organic Search Work Together

In an earlier newsletter, I mentioned the results of a study on paid and organic search, showing that the highest profitability resulted from high rankings in both paid and organic search. Sadly, that study didn’t give any details except for that end result. Now I’ve found a study that gives some background to that previous finding, share it with you in this Newsletter.

The Study

Google engaged Enquiro to study the effect of organic and paid search on brand perceptions for people who are in the early stages of purchasing a fuel-efficient car but haven’t yet settled on a brand. The study used Honda as an example. I’ve put the white paper on my Web site, and you can read it by clicking here.

In summary, they found the following:

1. Searchers who found Honda in both top paid and organic search results were 16% more likely to think of Honda as a fuel efficient car than those who didn’t see the ads in both categories.

2. Searchers who saw the brand in both types of results were 42% more likely to remember the brand than when it appeared only in the top organic listings.

3. Searchers who saw Honda in both organic and paid results were 8 percent more likely to intend to purchase Honda and 26 percent less likely to have an intent to purchase Honda if the brand did not appear in either group of listings.

Limitations

These results give us some insight into what’s going on in the mind of a searcher. They’re searching for a particularly qualified offering (fuel-efficient cars, for example, not just cars), and they’re looking for brands that meet those criteria. Those of us in advertising might not be impressed that a brand name appears in paid and organic listings, but of course our perception is not the same as the perception of the people we’re trying to persuade.

These results certainly apply if you’re a national brand in an area where there are only a few, familiar national brands. Do they apply to the particular nuances of your own situation? A small business can’t afford to hire Enquiro do to a brand study, but they can afford to just try using paid search along with organic search and measure the results.

The Bottom Line

Consider the non-obvious approach of using paid search along with organic search, even for terms where you have high ranking for organic search. And measure the results when you do try it.

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