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Old 23rd July 2004, 02:55 PM   #1

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Default The Importance of Being Number 1

For those who are interested in the difference between the number of clicks you get in the top position vs. the 10th, this is an interesting study to read: The Atlas Rank Report: How Search Engine Rank Impacts Traffic.

I won't go into a lot of details (the report does a pretty good job of that) but suffice to say that apparently being number one does affect your click through rate (CTR).

They don't draw any conclusions about conversion rates though, and as many PPC campaigners will note, high click through without conversion is pretty much a waste of money.

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Old 30th July 2004, 04:12 PM   #2
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At first I thought it was going to be a report that gave solid data...but as I read it, I became more and more confused about how they handled the data they cite. Some of the statements in the report are a little odd, too, like:

"Two factors determine how many clicks you will get for a given search phrase: impressions and click-through rate (CTR)."

Since the explanatory paragraph re: CTR says (correctly) that the CTR metric is derived by dividing clicks by impressions, it is confusing to say that clicks are determined in part by CTR.

And why do they figure positions #2 and #3 have such different "Relative Impressions" percentages when at least the top 3 results from both Google and Overture would consistently display on their affiliates sites, just as #1 does? Are they saying that some affiliates only take the top 1 sponsored result as their feed? I don't think that is correct. I think the minimum feed is the top 3 sponsored results, which would give #2 and #3 100% "Relative Impressions", too.

This report is confusing to me in its use of and explanation for its data, and I''m not sure they are proving their statement:

"A number of factors influence CTR in addition to rank. These include title, description, ad relevance, and industry. While all of these variables should be considered when you work to improve your CTR, the drop in CTR by rank was observed consistently in the data for this research, independent of these factors."

In my experience over the past several years in PPC, ad text and its relevancy to the search are THE most important factors, regardless of #1-#3 positioning. It is true that #4 and below produce fewer clicks, but that is expected due to the selective draw from affiliate feeds.

James Butler - "Do no weevils"

Last edited by StupidScript; 30th July 2004 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 20th September 2004, 09:02 AM   #3

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Default The Atlas Rank Report

I sort of tend to agree with SS:
At first I thought it was going to be a report that gave solid data...but as I read it, I became more and more confused about how they handled the data they cite
I am keen to see the basis of the findings.

We did some research on click potential and listing position. The results were interesting,to say the least. (No , we are not going to publish a "paper" on the same )

Industry and category had a huge impact on the click potential. Also,the keywords had an impact.I somehow liked the study done by Hotchkiss and team at Enquiro on the Search Funnel(albeit a small test group but still sensible),that showed the difference in CTR with keywords. Tried to combine the funnel and industry and category with the click potential data(real data collected from live campaigns for the past 3 months ).There are merits in getting the site into the top 5 listings(dayparting was applied for optimal results). There are times when it makes a lot of sense in maintaining (say) the 5th position. Tricky...its all about process.


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Old 1st October 2004, 05:28 PM   #4
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I think that so much of it can also really depend on how the listings are displayed.

For instance, on Yahoo!, for most Overture phrases, it breaks down as follows:

Blue Box Sponsor Results above main listings
Overture #1
Overture #2
Overture #3
(sometimes) Overture #4

Then, over to the right, you have Google AdWords style listings that might list #4 (or #5) through, say #12. On that list, the #4/#5 listing shows up at the top. Thus, I wonder if people might skim through the first one or two "blue listings" and also skim the top one or two AdWords style listings. That could result in higher clickthrough rates for #4/5 than for #3 under the blue.

On MSN, the listings are setup more like Google with the top few listings showing up at the very top of the page and the rest of the listings down the side, but still BELOW the "top" listings. (Whereas on Yahoo!, the number #4/#5 listing shows up on the same horizontal level as the #1 listing.)

There are simply so many different things to take into consideration when factoring click-thru rates that it's really hard to come to any conclusion. It also varies so much by industry. For instance, someone making an impulse buy like a DVD or CD is more likely to buy from the first listing they click than someone researching the purchase of a high ticket item like a plasma screen TV or a car.

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Old 1st October 2004, 07:58 PM   #5
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IMO it mostly depends on the headline used, and what the competition is like. In many cases people write their ads badly, and a cleverly worded headline and body can blow the oposition away so long as it is in the top half of the fold.

I have certianly had this with my clients.

Old Bald & Stupid, but more than compensated for by being born Welsh.
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Old 2nd October 2004, 07:44 PM   #6
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high click through without conversion is pretty much a waste of money.
I agree 100% whether we're talking about PPC ads, websites, email ads or any other type of 'Net advertising.

Read Karon's Copywriting Blog or learn online & SEO Copywriting with the Step-by-Step Copywriting Course
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Old 27th October 2004, 11:57 PM   #7
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I was a little lost in all the high tech. definitions used in the report.
I myself like the K-i-s-s approach to things.
I have learnt visitors spend as little as 20 seconds at your site before clicking that mouse. Visitors do NOT READ, They SCAN,
As important as your content mat be, it is your HEADLINE and then your SUB-TITLES that will be read.

NEVER say NO in your headings,
Read this
"Paris in the the spring is a beautiful city"
Now go back and read each INDIVIDUAL word.Most readers will miss the double the.Who cares why,some kind of high tech. stuff.The simple fact is our brains don't see the same words as our eyes.
I am 'scanning your site,
Your sub-heading reads..
"To be a good copywriter requires no education"
A fast scanner as myself might read
"To be a good copywriter requires education"
I know I do not want to go back to school!
If you can grab attention there and draw your visitor into your content you are halfway there.
It takes 20% longer to read something on-line than it does on paper.
Put all efforts into writing great Headlines and Sub-titles.
So there my friends is a K-i-s-s.!

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