Number of Average Steps in Paid Search Conversion Funnel Decreases Around Holiday Season

A recent white paper from NetElixir analyzed PPC ad copy sequences to determine whether conversion funnel length and messaging have an impact on order and revenue conversions during the holidays. Researchers found that the average number of steps in the paid search-related conversion funnel decreases from Q3 to Q4, which means that shoppers took fewer steps before making a purchase in Q4.

Specifically, CPC paths with at least one CPC touch point decreased by an average of 0.48 steps from Q3 to Q4. Conversion paths with more than one CPC touch point decreased from 5.68 steps to 4.02 steps.

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The study also found that multi-touch CPC conversions are more valuable (in terms of average order value) than single CPC conversion paths – the former had an AOV of $115 for Q4 while the latter had an AOV of $106 during the same time period. Researchers suggest that, “larger purchases involve more logical decision-making than impulse purchases, so the correlation between path length and AOV could simply be a result of consumers doing their homework before hitting that “checkout” button.”

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Though around two-thirds of businesses surveyed utilized holiday themed ad headlines, like “Black Friday,” “Cyber Monday” and “Holiday,” they were only present in 6 percent of conversion paths, showing this holiday messaging isn’t always successful in leading to purchases.

Researchers also found that using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) should be considered for non-trademark and trademark holiday campaigns. Another finding is that “official” messaging performs well for trademark ads – for example, “official store” or “official site.” Action verbs such as “shop,” “order,” and “buy” perform particularly well in trademark holiday ads as well.

PPC Budgets Surged in 2015

“The State of PPC” report from Hanapin Marketing revealed 70 percent of businesses increased their PPC budgets in 2015. In addition, 78 percent felt really good about their PPC success during 2015, and only 2 percent felt poor about their success. Forty-eight percent plan to increase their budget in 2016.

Even though the mix of PPC channels continues to expand, text ads, remarketing and mobile ads continue to remain the most proven channels.

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