Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, and his team of researchers conducted a study to answer the question raised by paid search managers across the world, whether or not paid search ad cannibalize traffic from corresponding organic listings for the same keywords. In his findings, it was concluded that paid search ads give you an 89% incremental lift in site visitors, above and beyond traffic you would normally expect from your organic listing. Of course, many are skeptic to the results Google found, being as their research was on its on search properties. However, their study seems to support prevailing conventional wisdom in the industry and even some earlier studies on the impact of paid advertising on brands terms and natural traffic.

The Effects of Paid Advertising

shutterstock_238099111At many search conferences, and in columns, we are often reminded of the importance of managing and biding on brand terms even when you have good organic positions. Other studies conducted have also showed that the idea that paid search ads cannibalize brand keyword traffic as being false. Google’s study used heavy data from 446 campaigns in Germany, France, Great Britain and the US from October 2010 to March 2011. The campaigns they focused on were ones that had been paused after running ads for some period of time and then, using some deductive modeling, estimated the incremental impact of paid search ads on total search volume. Although not heavily recommended, if you’re really serious about testing the impact of paid search on your own campaigns you can always try the “Nuclear Option”. The “Nuclear Option” refers to the method of testing in which you would turn off your brand campaigns for a short period and then evaluate the impact on your traffic and your conversions. The risk of this, however, is that it chokes off so much traffic so quickly that you notice the impact on top-line revenues immediately and can have very detrimental impact.

That being said, the impact of paid ads and the effect on a brands organic traffic is all dependent on the brand itself. For the most part, however, the idea of paid ads “cannibalizing” organic listings is not a worry. To find out more about PPC ads and to learn how these may benefit your business call Brandon at beMarketing today at .