Online Merchants Continue to See Better Value From Paid Than Organic Search Traffic

November 12, 2013

MarketLive-Online-Merchants-Search-Traffic-Nov2013The online merchants who comprise the MarketLive Performance Index continue to gain outsized revenues from their paid search traffic, according to [download page] the latest MarketLive report. During Q3, paid search accounted for 37.6% of all their search visits, up from 34.3% in Q3 2012. But that traffic resulted in an outsized 45.8% of search revenues, up from 40.3% a year earlier, echoing findings from the first half of the year. Overall, search accounted for a slight majority of traffic and revenues for the merchants in Q3.

Separately, the study looks at smartphone and tablet traffic, finding that these devices combined to account for 35.6% of visits during Q3, up from 32.1% in H1 and 23.3% in Q3 2012.

Smartphone and tablet traffic still have poorer conversion rates than desktops, though. The conversion rate for smartphones was just 0.59%, while for tablets it was 1.99%. (By comparison, it was 3.01% for desktops). Average order value (AOV) lagged on smartphones ($123.97), while tablets ($137.24) and desktops ($139.29) were more or less on par.

All told, while mobile devices combined to represent more than one-third of visits in Q3, they accounted for only about 16% of total revenues. Smartphones were the culprit: while comprising 14% of traffic, they brought in just 3% of total revenues.

Other Findings:

  • Cart abandonment rates were higher on smartphones (85.8%) than on tablets (76.9%) and desktops (68.4%).
  • Smartphone visitors spent an average of 2 minutes and 59 seconds on the merchants’ sites, compared to 4 minutes and 42 seconds for tablet visitors and 4 minutes and 40 seconds for desktop visitors.
  • While social sources referred only a very small amount of traffic in Q3 (~1-2%), social traffic was up by 29% year-over-year, while revenue was up 77%.
  • Social also tends to attract new visitors: almost three-quarters of social traffic comes from first-time visitors, per the report, compared to 61% from other traffic sources.

About the Data: The MarketLive report examined H1 performance data for a subset of sites included in the index since January 1, 2012 or earlier.

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