Online Merchants Report Increasing Value of Paid Search in 2013

February 11, 2014

MarketLive-Online-Merchants-Traffic-Revenue-Sources-in-2013-Feb2014E-commerce trends seen earlier in the year held true in Q4 and for 2013 overall, according to [download page] MarketLive’s latest Performance Index. Namely, for those online merchants comprising the index, paid search continued to deliver more valuable traffic than organic search. For the year as a whole, PPC accounted for 36.5% of search traffic but an outsized 47.9% of revenue from search.

As a percentage of overall traffic, organic (33%) search continued to be a bigger driver than paid search (19%). But the gap was almost non-existent in terms of revenue, with organic delivering 25% of total revenue compared to 23% for paid search.

Compared to 2012, while search only increased its share of overall traffic by a point, the composition of search traffic changed quite significantly, swinging more towards paid.

The other big trend identified in the report was – not surprisingly – mobile. For the year, 31% of traffic came from smartphones (17%) and tablets (14%), with that combined figure reaching 36% in Q4. Mobile couldn’t sustain those numbers when it came to revenue, comprising a smaller 15% of total revenues during the year (18% in Q4). That was chiefly because smartphones generated only a small portion of revenues (3% in 2013 overall) relative to the amount of traffic (17% share).

The following is a comparison of how smartphone and tablet traffic performed during the year, illustrating the high degree of disparity between the devices:

  • Time on site: 4:28 tablets; 2:54 smartphones;
  • Add-to-cart rate: 7.8% tablets; 4.4% smartphones;
  • Cart abandonment rate: 74% tablets; 84% smartphones;
  • Conversion rate: 2.1% tablets; 0.6% smartphones;
  • Checkout abandonment rate: 36% tablets; 61% smartphones;
  • Average order value: $148.96 tablets; $102.68 smartphones.

About the Data: The data is derived from a subset of MarketLive sites active from January 1, 2012 or prior.

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