November 10, 2009, 12:00 AM

Diligent comparison shopping is the new normal, according to report

The average number of clicks between a consumer’s first click and a conversion rose from 5.2 to 5.8 in the last year, according to a NetElixir report.

The average number of clicks between a consumer’s first click and a conversion his risen from 5.2 to 5.8 in the last year, according to “Search Engine Marketing in the Post Recession Era,” a new report from online customer acquisition management firm NetElixir. The report suggests search marketers must realize that online shoppers are seeking more information before they buy.

The study also found that the time between the initial click and purchase grew 16-18%. The increase suggests shoppers are increasingly likely to start the shopping process on a search engine, before eventually making their way to a comparison site, the report says.

The report also found that 47% of online marketing revenues in the first half of 2009 came from search advertising. The report suggests the trend is likely to continue into 2010 because click-through rates have increased along with the total number of clicks from paid search ads.

Profit per click, however, has decreased since last year. Average order value from search engine marketing campaigns has dropped 7-8% from 2008 to 2009. The report says that the decline is expected to continue as competition among retailers and comparison shopping engines intensifies.

“Search marketers have become more sophisticated, and that’s a good trend because that’s the only way that they will be able to survive and thrive in this intensely competitive era, the ‘post-recessionary era,’” the report states.

The “new normal” of more diligent online comparison shopping also includes the death of a few common practices among search marketers. Vanity bidding in which companies aim to get the top listing, regardless of the cost, has gone by the wayside as has the idea that all products should be marketed through pay-per-click.

NetElixir’s report is based on research collected from the paid search campaigns of 32 online retailers.

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