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26th August 2011 |  Written by Ben Reed

Do PPC Search Ads Cannibalise Search Traffic?

It is a question I have seen bounded about the internet marketing world for a very long time.

Do PPC ads really cannibalise your search traffic?

In simple terms this is asking the question… if a company paused their PPC campaigns, would clicks on their organic search listings increase enough to cover the loss of traffic by stopping the PPC ads from running? Therefore saving them what ££ they would of spent on PPC.

It is an interesting question and it affects business owners, agencies and internet marketeers alike.

Thankfully the good old Google statisticians recently ran a study to put this to bed. They ran studies on over 400 paused accounts.

The results of this study showed that 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused.

Google Release

“In what we call “Search Ads Pause Studies,” our group of researchers observed organic click volume in the absence of search ads. Then they built a statistical model to predict click volume for given levels of ad spend. This model generates estimates for the incremental clicks attributable to search ads or, in other words, the percentage of paid clicks that are not made up for by organic clicks when search ads are paused.

On average, the incremental ad clicks (IAC) percentage across verticals is 89%. This means that a full 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused. This number was consistently high across verticals.”

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