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Google and Yahoo trail in key e-commerce metric

? Video, Advertising, and Online |


| BW Podcast with It's JerryTime ?

February 15, 2006

Google and Yahoo trail in key e-commerce metric

Stephen Baker

A new study by Websidestory, an analytics company, shows that ads on AOL and MSN appear to be far more effective those on Google and Yahoo! at driving sales.

Median Order Conversion Rate by Major Search Engine

at Business to Consumer E-Commerce Sites, January 2006

Search Engine Median (All Categories)

AOL 6.17%

MSN 6.03%

Yahoo 4.07%

Google 3.83%

An analyst at the company says that fuller portals like AOL and MSN may appeal audiences in a shopping mode, while Google draws a higher percentage of pure browsers. I can't find the release online. I'll cut and paste below.


AOL Search Posts Best Order Conversion Rate Among Major Search Engines, Followed by MSN, Yahoo and Google

SAN DIEGO, CA (Feb. 15, 2006) ? WebSideStory, Inc. (Nasdaq: WSSI), a leading provider of on-demand digital marketing applications, today reported the results of a new study showing the median order conversion rate for the top four search engines. For the month of January, AOL Search generated the best conversion rate at business-to consumer e-commerce sites (6.17 percent), followed by MSN (6.03 percent), Yahoo (4.07 percent) and Google (3.83 percent), according to the WebSideStory Index, a new statistical barometer that features techno-graphic and e-commerce trends culled from the millions of users that visit web sites using the company's award-winning web analytics technology, HBX Analytics. The study includes traffic from both organic and paid keywords.

“One way to explain the difference in conversion rates is demographics,” said Ali Behnam, senior digital marketing consultant for WebSideStory. “With portals rich in content and services, AOL, MSN and Yahoo may tend to appeal toward a more buyer friendly demographic. Google, meanwhile, may appeal to more browsers – those with less of an intent to buy.”

“All of this suggests search engine marketers may want to consider demographics in allocating their budgets,” Behnam said.

Each of the major search engines posted conversion rates well above the median average for all search engines, which was 1.97 percent for the month of January, according to the index. This compares with a median average of 2.30 percent for the last three months of 2005, which WebSideStory reported on last month.

One other important consideration to note in this study, WebSideStory officials said, is that the conversion rates are likely higher than industry averages because the sample sites are using best-of-class web analytics to improve their search engine marketing and optimization. “Our clients are steeped in web analytics best practices and are not buying search engine traffic that does not deliver,” said Jeff Lunsford, chairman and CEO of WebSideStory. “In addition, they understand how to convert visitors into buyers once they arrive at the site.”

HBX Analytics is an award-winning, on-demand web analytics solution that provides actionable information about online visitor customer behavior. It is part of the WebSideStory Active Marketing Suite, the industry’s first suite of integrated, on-demand digital marketing applications including web analytics, site search, web content management and, later this year, keyword bid management. For more information, visit


- Study examines only the conversion rate, not the ROI generated by each major search engine

- E-commerce sample: The select business-to-consumer e-commerce sites used in this study generate more than $3 billion in annual online sales

06:21 AM


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Hitbox’s Conversion Information Only Tells Half The Story from eWhisper dot Net

Hitbox released conversion stats by search engine. However, those statistics only tell part of the story. When determining where and how to advertise, those are not statistics one should rely upon to make financial decisions.

All traffic converts diffe... [Read More]

Tracked on June 25, 2006 10:25 PM

For some reason I'm not surprised. Based on my gut reaction when I surf through the MSN homepage (more like getting dragged there while dealing with something OS-related), I actually feel like I'm on a shopping website.

If I had to guess, it's the older demographic using AOL and MSN and the younger or more technically-savvy crowd using either Yahoo or Google. I expect people here have seen AOL's "The Internet is Bad" commercial and have been following their development of an "AIMspace". I think they've pegged where the real money is... and it's not with the "gold collar" kids crowd.

Posted by: csven at February 15, 2006 09:42 AM

Hi Stephen,

Those are very interesting figures, I am surprised as I thought that the conversion rate would be higher with Google than the ones actually shown.

Posted by: Henrique Plöger Abreu at February 15, 2006 10:14 AM

It's nice to see consumers buy online, it means the "web model" works. That alone is big!

About the results, I'm wondering if the study focuses solely on the central search engines. For instance, I know they checked the ROI on Google but have they also accounted for the Froogle activity?

Perhaps services like Google Base might even become spearheads of e-commerce because they let business offerings "flow" in a more structured way.

Posted by: Claude Gelinas at March 17, 2006 04:03 PM

That's a good sign. I hope they can carry their deal.

Posted by: Laura at July 5, 2006 04:02 AM

I think it's pure figures playing.

Posted by: ecommerce manager at July 24, 2006 10:28 AM

MSN and Yahoo may tend to appeal toward a more buyer friendly.Google, meanwhile, may appeal to more browsers those with less of an intent to buy.;)

Posted by: paul at July 27, 2006 12:34 AM

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