A lot has been written about how Google Instant could transform Search Engine Optimization results. But very little has been performed to analyse its implications on Pay-Per-Click performance. Marin Software, a large provider of Pay-Per-Click management software has just released an extensive study.
Here are the key findings:
1. Search users have responded positively to Google Instant as evidenced by increased engagement with search. Marin found that overall impressions for paid search ads increased by more than 9%, while clicks increased by more than 5% – implying that people are actually searching and clicking more as a result of Google Instant.
For advertisers, this implies budget should be increased to cope with the larger demand. Marin has found that advertisers that will first jump on the bandwagon will be rewarded with decreased Cost Per Click (initially).
2. Short form queries (less than 3 keywords) have increased a lot faster than long form ones. This is due to Google Instant’s ability to make queries more relevant to the user earlier in the search process.
The predictive nature of Google Instant may be biasing users towards searching for common phrases. The implications for the advertisers are to optimize for generic keywords. This was widely anticipated.
3. Finally the study is showing match types still matter a lot. As users search for shorter queries, emphasis should be made on optimizing for exact match, which perform better and also tend to be more cost effective.
Overall, it concluded: ”“Google Instant was seen as a big gamble for Google when the company announced it, but it’s proved to be a positive change for the industry,” said Matt Lawson, vice-president of marketing, Marin Software. “Google has pulled off the elusive win-win-win with the release of Instant, driving increased usability for consumers and increased volume for advertisers, while managing to increase their slice of the overall search pie in the process.”