The Dow Jones story: Search Sites Better At Getting Shoppers To Buy: Study, reports on new research from WebSideStory that shows search engines (both paid and organic listings) provide more than twice the conversion rates than other forms of Internet advertising and marketing.
However, direct navigation offered the highest conversion rate. The sites used in the study cover five product categories.
From the article:
The study defines conversion rate as the percentage of visitors to a site who view an ad or clicking on a search result and purchase a product or service.
Search Sites had a conversion rate of 2.3%, meaning that for every 100 consumers clicking on a search result or advertisement, 2.3 people made a purchase.
Other Forms of Internet Marketing
Banner ads, affiliate marketing links, comparison shopping search sites* and other online marketing efforts had a conversion rate of 0.96%.
* Note, that shopping engines are not considered in the main search category.
Search Bypass: Direct Navigation/Bookmarks
Direct to a company’s web site (including via a bookmark) offered a
conversion rate of 4.23%.
Where did the data come from:
The study collected data from Web sites that sell apparel, toys, electronics, sporting goods and leisure products. Among the most successful were toy sites. When reached through a search engine, they had a conversion rate of 4.85% while Web sites selling computers and electronics had a conversion rate of 1.35%, the study found.
The sites used in the study generate more than $3 billion in annual sales online in five categories listed above.
This news release from WebSideStory has more including precise definitions for each category.