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Longer Search Queries Hurting PPC Clicks?

Paid Search Advertisers May Have to Adapt

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Advertisers using paid search may find that they have to adapt to the habits of searchers. And there have been indications that searchers are using longer queries to find what they are looking for these days.

comScore shares some rather interesting data showing that the number of paid clicks has grown 3 times slower than the total number of queries in the US since January 2007. Look at these graphs:

Query Volume

Paid Clicks

The percentage of SERPS (search engine results pages) that actually feature paid ads appears to be on the decline according to comScore.

"An analysis of comScore data shows that search queries are actually getting longer and that as searchers become more experienced they are using more words per search query," explains comScore’s Gian Fulgoni. "And this apparently reduces the likelihood that an advertiser has bid to have his/her ad included in the results page from these longer queries, due to paid search advertising strategies that limit ad coverage, such as Exact Match, Negative Match, and bid management software campaign optimization."

Words Per Search

The data makes me wonder if we might start to see a trend in longer query keywords being bid upon. This could make the game much more tricky, because obviously the longer the query, the more combinations of keywords. It would really require a lot analysis of search trends and thinking from inside the customer’s shoes.

Longer Search Queries Hurting PPC Clicks?


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  • http://asmarketing.wordpress.com Top Keyword Search

    Long Tail Keywords is slowly hitting the paid side of search. Now does this mean there will be a higher conversion?

  • http://www.mikeliebner.com Mike

    What you say about LONG TAIL is true – however the approach to take advantage of this long tail traffic is NOT the way to go.

    Think about it – if YOU want to get ALL the long tail traffic you can – including the LONGEST of the long tail keywords – what you need to do is bid with BROAD MATCH.

    If you do this YOUR STATS will then reveal the exact SEARCH QUERIES that converted into sales and you would NOT miss any of those long queries because broad match serves up the most variations and will bring you the most traffic.

    This approach does require more effort – and most people just won’t bother – and that leaves a great opportunity

    EXACT and PHRASE MATCH limit the possibilities that you will get that traffic – BROAD makes sure you will get it! Watching your conversion stats will make sure you ICLUDE those new found long tail phrases.

  • skinwalker

    does this mean that longer searches might present a new opportunity to search advertisers
    www.etravelmarketer.wordpress.com

  • http://www.buyviagrapillsonline.com/ Ed

    I have lately noticed that a lot of my search engine traffic comes from long tail keywords that I’d never think about. But in general, longer queries bring in low traffic.

  • http://www.zulucreative.co.uk Tom

    This has been happening for some time now, so it’s no surprise to see more evidence of this change (check out: http://www.zuludigital.co.uk/blogs.php?id=28). By no means does this shift signal the end to paid search, but I would suggest that more people should invest a little time and money into SEO as a long-term project, as for many industries, longer search terms tap into your target audience more accurately, meaning higher conversions.

  • http://www.orchidbox.com Orchid Box PPC and SEO

    I agree with some of the other commenters – I don’t think it’s a big surprise that this is happening, we’ve noticed longer keyword phrases getting more and more competitive for certain areas.

    The prime example is to look at “SEO” keywords, inevitably where the real trends are beginning as companies change their ad campaigns first, and SEO keywords are incredibly competitive, even with very long phrases!

    PPC is growing in its popularity as more and more brands realise it’s necessity, especially for start up companies looking to drive traffic before they can hit the search heights. I think in general for companies though this means PPC will become a longer process and more effort and analysis needs to be done for campaigns.

    Thanks for the post, nice to see other people’s views.

  • http://www.kamagrarx.com kamagrarx

    I think advertisers using paid search may find that they have to adapt to the habits of searchers. And there have been indications that searchers are using longer queries to find what they are looking for these days.

  • http://www.weirdasianews.com/2008/08/14/the-ultimate-speed-bump/ rami fawaz

    You do increase your conversions with the longer keywords.

  • http://www.brandviagra.net/ James

    Now longer keywords is much better than short two-three words length…

  • http://www.biofresh.es Katy Richards

    I guess a possible solution to this would be to improve your PPC campaign or something similar. I mean, Google IS getting more “successful” searches than in the past… As in, right now you can pretty much know that whatever you type in Google will yield an answer to your question.

  • http://www.speaker-mounts.net/ speaker mounts

    I think there is no doubt that long tail search queries are becoming prominent in the ppc arena. People are finally starting to see the true value of these more targeted search terms.

  • http://www.viagral.com Ed

    I have lately noticed that a lot of my search engine traffic comes from long tail keywords that I’d never think about. But in general, longer queries bring in low traffic.

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