Evidence that Pay Per Click PPC Supplanting Organic Results in Google

According to WordStream, a PPC technology and search engine marketing software company that just published some research on the state of Google search:

  • The click-through rate of paid search advertisements on Google now outnumbers ‘free’ organic search result listings by nearly a 2:1 ratio for high commercial intent keyword searches conducted in the U.S.,
  • When people are searching in order to investigate or make a purchase, over 64% click a sponsored result.
  • Google has also increased the on-screen real estate for paid ads for high commercial intent keywords. In some cases, between the top of the page and the right-hand side, sponsored ads take up approximately 85% of “above the fold” pixels. As a result the top three sponsored ad listings generate for over 40% of clicks on those pages, and product listing ads 19%.
  • Total click-through rates for Google ads on high commercial intent queries are up to 600 times higher than the click-through rates for ads on a typical Facebook page.

Source: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-google-is-killing-organic-search.html and http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/07/17/google-advertising

Here is an infographic with all that data and more:

[Read more...]

More data about hotel reviews – infographic

Olery has shared the following data via their infographic:

  • The Average Hotel got 238 reviews in 2011
  • 81% of travelers find user reviews important
  • 49% of travelers won’t book a property without reviews
  • 53% of reviews are written by women… and women give a 10% higher rating than men when they do write a review!

[Read more...]

More Data on the Power of Facebook and Travel Decisions

According to a 2011 poll featured on UK-based flight comparison site Skyscanner.com, 52% of Facebook users stated that seeing friends’ vacation pictures inspired them to book a trip to that particular place.

According to Friend2Friend, travelers are 80% more likely to book a trip from a friend liking a page than they are from responding to a traditional advertisement.

Consulting firm EyeforTravel released the 2012 report Social Media & Mobile Travel, which indicates that 7 out of 10 travel brands professed how social media has not only generated a remarkable amount of direct bookings from social media sites, but has also significantly improved engagement with customers.

The World Travel Market 2011 Industry Report states that more than one fifth, or 22%, of travel companies generate revenue from social media efforts and 27% are planning to make strides in social over the next 5 years.  The report further indicates that by 2016, social media will be in the forefront as a primary way to generate travel bookings and revenue for half of the travel industry.

Source: Forbes: How Facebook is Shaping your 2012 Travel Decisions

iPad and Tablet devices and the online hotel and travel consumer

More news has been coming on the tablet device user having higher conversion rates and spending more money.  Here are some additional sources supporting this that are relevant to the hotel and travel industries.

Research from e-commerce software specialist Ability Commerce which shows conversions on tablets outnumber those on smartphones by almost three to one.

The study, released in September, on three companies conducting a significant volume of business online, shows iPad users made up more than 55% of mobile commerce revenue while only accounting for 13% of mobile customer visits  for one company.

A second company saw 21% of its web traffic come via the iPad but 51% of its sales while the third saw 50% of their web traffic via the tablet device and 97% of all mobile revenue.

Research on 800 retailers released last year by Shopatron shows the average iPad conversion rate is seven times higher than for a smartphone device.

 14% of all travel related queries are coming from a mobile phone, compared to 4% in 2010.

Research entitled the ‘Beginning of the End of the PC Era?’ from web design and digital specialist Nucleus reveals the growth in traffic from mobile devices in January 2012 compared with August 2011 and shows luxury sites have the highest mobile penetration. The studied carried out on 10 UK and international travel websites reveals some have witnessed a doubling in mobile web browsing over the six months with the top site generating 24.2% of its traffic from tablets and smartphones.

Wave Collapse asked consumers to identify the last purchase on their tablet devices during April 2012 – here are the top five items:

  1. Hotel reservation – 22%
  2. DVD – 22%
  3. Clothing – 20%
  4. Books – 18%
  5. Air tickets – 17%

Evidence of the results of all this is certainly starting to emerge – online travel agency Travelocity says 55% of all its mobile bookings are now coming via tablet devices, according to director of mobile Jason Fulmines, with so-called “mobile-exclusive deals” generating a “good percentage” of hotel bookings.

Read More at Tnooz: iPad and other tablets starting to challenge old web shopping behaviour and Google sees higher conversions from tablets – cars, sofas and houses among purchases and Research shows massive surge in iPad travel browsing

Stats About How Your Guests Compare You to Your Competitors

The Average traveler will visit 4 vacation rental websites and inquire about 7 properties.

vacation rental sites visited prior to booking

Travelers are 83% more likely to make an inquiry on your property listing if you have over 20 photos vs less than 5 photos.  Interesting Fact: Only 6% of properties feature over 20 photos (at Flipkey, a Tripadvisor company) [Read more...]

Why You Should Purchase Your Brand Name In Google AdWords and PPC

“Even if you rank wellSEO wise, for your brand, you probably don’t for the long tail variations of your brand. Google stated this week that in 2/3rds of branded searches, the click goes to the paid ad. It’s just a big missed opportunity.”

This great quote  from Jeff Ferguson, CEO of consulting group Fang Digital when talking about common PPC blunders.

Rich Snippets Get You More Clicks

There is even more data appearing that reinforces one of Blizzard’s opinions: Ranking is nice, but HOW you look when you rank is very important.

A new eye-tracking and click-tracking study from Mediative (formerly known as Enquiro) shows the value of having the top spot in Google’s local results, but also suggests that social content and signals can boost rankings further down the page.

Mediative’s study of online click-tracking:

  • Most clicks went to the first listing, with the second and third businesses getting progressively fewer clicks.
  • The fourth listing, the one with a review and text snippets, appears to have had more click activity than the third result.
  • The top-ranked business always garnered attention and clicks, but listings further down the page did well when they had additional social content like star ratings, reviews and text snippets.
  • When the top results have fewer social signals such as reviews (e.g. London), lower results get more visual attention.
  • If your website is listed in any position other than the top, and your listing does not include any social signals, it will be relatively ignored, especially if there are other listings that do have social signals.

An eye tracking study done in July 2010 reveals some new insights into searcher behavior.

The study shows that the search snippet, often the meta description from the site, is an extremely important factor for searchers. It is fixated ovre more than the title or URL… searchers spent more time reading the snippet.

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal recently conducted an online survey of just over 2,000 consumers in the US and UK to determine local search usage patterns and attitudes. They found:

  • 71% of online consumers consulted local business reviews at least occasionally, with 22% saying they do so regularly
  • Those in the 35-54 age range consult reviews more than other groups
  • 55% of US consumers trust a local business more after reading positive online reviews, and reviews appear to have a meaningful impact on consumer behavior
  • 67% of respondents say they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations

5 stages of travel according to Google – research, data and stats

Google reports in its 5 stages of travel:

More than 87% of travelers expect to take the same or more number of personal or business trips in 2011 versus years past. This outlook is positive, and with the rise of mobile, social and video behaviors, we are now seeing seeing travelers move through five key stages of travel. Here are some insights within each stage:

  • Dreaming: 68% of business travelers watch travel-related online videos. Among them, 68% are thinking about a trip.
  • Planning: The average traveler visits ~22 travel related sites during 9.5 research sessions prior to booking.  85% of leisure travelers consider the internet their main source of travel planning.
  • Booking: 37% of leisure travelers report that the internet prompted them to book, up from 28% two years ago.  53% of travelers plan to increase comparison shopping this year.
  • Experiencing: 70% of business travelers check into their flights/hotel with their mobile device. Almost 1 in 4 hotel queries come from a mobile phone.  Over 50% of travelers use mobile phone or device for travel-related information.
  • Sharing: About 1 in 3 business travelers have posted reviews online of places they’ve been.

Travel Stats from Google’s new thinkinsights

Google has a new portal for users to discover interesting stats: thinginsights

I discovered this there:

  • 62% of personal travelers use search engines as the number one source for travel information. Google/OTX, Traveler’s Road to Decision 2010, U.S, Sept 2010

  • 51% of business travelers use mobile devices to get travel information, more than double the rate of two years ago. Google/OTX, The Traveler’s Road to Decision 2011

  • 46% of personal travelers are watching travel-related videos, versus 36% two years ago. Google/OTX, The Traveler’s Road to Decision 2011

Adwords Stats (non-travel)

  • Over 89% of traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic search results when ads are paused. Google, Search Ads Pause Study, Global, Jul 2011

  • Two-line sitelinks increase click-through rates by more than 30%*. Google Internal Data 2011, *Compared to standard Adwords ads

Video ads can help your Brand Search:

  • Consumers exposed to a YouTube homepage ad are 437% more likely to engage in a key brand activity on the same day than those unexposed.

Affluent Households Drive Travel Trade

Travel Weekly reports that:

  • Americans with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more are not only twice as likely as others to make entertainment and leisure purchases, and more than three times more likely to spend more.
  • Effectively, 50% to 60% of all expenditures in the travel world come from these people.
  • 65% of affluent Americans, who account for just 21% of the population, have a passport, compared with about 37% of all Americans.
  • Seventy-six percent of those surveyed planned to take a vacation this year.
  • In the last year, 83% of survey respondents took a trip of any sort, spending an average of $2,849 per journey, and 55% stayed at hotels with ratings of four or more stars.