Natural search vs paid search spend & traffic share for big brand retailers

  • 0
  • December 2, 2009

Internet marketing firm Conductor has carried out some research (using Spyfu) to see what proportion of traffic to the top 10 big-box US retailers is coming from paid search compared to natural search.

natural vs paid search share

In summary, they are spending a lot on paid search and natural search is still performing better in a number of cases. Of course the natural search traffic will include a lot of brand search (more than PPC) but it’s still interesting to see.

Collectively they are spending $678,000 per day on paid search which actually seems quite low to me – it works out at around £40k per day which for a big retailer isn’t much. Target for example spent $297,000 per day on PPC according to this study.

I always like to refer people to this chart from SEOmoz showing the distribution between natural search spend and paid search spend compared to the share of clicks each receives. I wonder what Target would say if somebody quoted $297,000 per day for natural search?

distribution of search clicks vs spend

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Peter Young

    Would be interesting to see how the above data would come out if run on purely non-brand traffic., as I would suggest we would possibly see a far more different landscape than that above – as I can’t help feeling brands such as Walmart have their figures heavily distorted in such studies by the volume of brand traffic to the site.

  • tag44

    Nice post, very well useful information shared here related to natural and paid search.

  • Daniel Brady

    Since high organic traffic comes from creating tonnes of unique and quality content, ‘SEO Spend’ should also include the cost of content creation, in which case it has a lot higher spending per year.

  • JP

    One question:

    No. of visits is Monthly uniques?

    Also I would like to see profit per media.

    (OT: mate, those twitter are not comments, and pretty much f*ck the flow of the conversation, maybe in a different column?)

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