AOL Gets The Gold In Online Conversions

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WebSideStory did a study on conversion rates for major search engines and came up with some interesting and maybe even shocking results. For the month of January, AOL generated the best conversion rate of 6.17%, followed by MSN with 6.03%, Yahoo with 4.07% and finally Google with 3.83%. Results included both organic and paid referrals.

Some people were shocked that Google came in last. I guess we are just too used to seeing Google being first everywhere. In reality Google is still in its infancy in terms of “buyer friendliness”. Yahoo!, MSN and AOL have been working in that direction from the start: offering anything from instant messengers and e-mail to internet access services. Google started offering a customized homepage, e-mail and messenger services relatively recently and many users of those services can be summarized in two words – “tech geeks”. Most people use either Yahoo! or MSN e-mail services and chat using AOL or MSN messengers. I know people who don’t know what Internet Explorer is (I’m not even talking about Firefox) and all they use is AOL Explorer. Personally, I don’t use Gmail or Google Talk simply because I have been using other services for many years before Google introduced its own.

Of course, all these services contribute to a better understanding of customers and from that to targeted ads in all kinds of services. So it comes as no surprise that Google came in last.

About the Author

Andrey Milyan was the first editor-in-chief of Search Marketing Standard, the leading print publication covering the search marketing industry. He has been following and reporting on industry developments for over 10 years. Andrey now works in the paid search sector of a prominent search marketing agency.

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2 Comments

  1. Boris

    Conversion rates of 6%? A bit high for any search engine, especially if they are talking about an average. That would mean that a good chunk of the advertisers got 10% and more.

    Boris

  2. Anonymous

    Looking at the report, there is an explanation offered for the higher-than-expected conversion rates:

    "One other important consideration to note in this study, WebSideStory officials said, is that the conversion rates are likely higher than industry averages because the sample sites are using best-of-class web analytics to improve their search engine marketing and optimization. “Our clients are steeped in web analytics best practices and are not buying search engine traffic that does not deliver,” said Jeff Lunsford, chairman and CEO of WebSideStory. “In addition, they understand how to convert visitors into buyers once they arrive at the site.” "

    Sort of makes the report a little less relevant to the "everyday" type of website looking to convert visitors into buyers.