Over 60 per cent of ecommerce websites are wasting investment in search

Logan Tod has conducted a study of over seven million search visits to e-commerce websites. The study examined what happens when visitors land on a page from a search engine. The data that shows that over 60% of ecommerce websites are wasting investment in search because they are not backing their marketing up with content or landing pages to create visitor engagement. This raises the question of how valuable just driving this traffic is, if it doesn’t result in brand benefit or sales? Do marketers need to find other ways to engage with them once they click to keep them there and returning or is too much emphasis being placed on SEM?

There are three main categories that e-commerce websites fall into:
The Wasters = 60% of e-commerce websites
This is the largest group of all, and it also has the largest volume of visitors, more than 20% of visitors leave the website immediately after looking at just one page. The highest recorded (naming no names) rated at 47% of immediately lost visitors. To develop further, these sites need to buy more intelligently and to make use of more landing pages.

The Smart Balanced – 20% of e-commerce websites
Within this group, between 10 and 20% of website visitors leave the site immediately after clicking on a link from a search engine. This is the normal range for sites that are balancing investment in search marketing with developments to improve customer experience on the website.
The Slackers – 20% of e-commerce websites
Within this group only 10% of website visitors leave the site immediately. This number sounds good, however, when you scratch under the surface, these are generally strong brands and we would expect the searcher to stick around once they had found the brand website. In fact though, when you look at this in more detail, this group is not doing enough and could better their results by investing more in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or Pay Per Click (PPC). In general they are not targeting more common terms used by their consumers, sticking to the safe words that will guarantee a result.

What should The Wasters be doing to make the most of their SEM?
Matthew Tod, CEO of Logan Tod offers the following advice: to Wasters, wishing to improve the effectiveness of their search engine marketing:
“The Wasters should be aiming to move into The Smart Balanced category by investing in their sites to capture visits and to make the most of them. Then, and only then, should they consider to invest more in search engine marketing.”

Tips on how to capture more visits
1. Study behaviour beyond ‘the click’ – see how visitors respond to your site
2. Measure behaviour of specific groups of searchers – for example people searching for a brand name behave differently to the average visitor.
3. Implement and test effective landing pages that engage visitors with the site


Editor’s notes

About Logan Tod & Co
Logan Tod & Co is an independent digital consultancy, focused on helping companies achieve better results from e-business. The company ensures online activity creates more sales leads, sells more, saves money and improves ROI. The Logan Tod team does this by analysing data, managing the conversion process and developing techniques to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of a website.

Logan Tod works closely with its clients, ensuring their site development is more business results driven and customer centric. Clients include Renault, Mothercare, Sharps Bedrooms, Littlewoods, Provident Finance, Computer Associates, the National Physical Laboratory, News International and Focus DIY.


Charley Hayes
immediate future Ltd.
0845 408 2031

Published on: 12:00AM on 30th May 2006