Google Instant more impressions + more clicks = more performance?

It’s nearing the second month anniversary for Google Instant (launched Sep 8th), lots of interesting theories and statistics are floating out there regarding its impact.

A few shouts to fellow online marketers and paid search gurus out there who’ve voiced some concerns or adulated Google Instant:

Les Jones pointed out how some marketers raised concern as to how this may impact impressions and click-through rates for better or for worse and whether Google Instant spells the death of long tail.

DigitalBuzzLog offers a video to offer up support for Google Instant. They take a more high-brow approach, will it change the SEO game from a visual and language perspective?

There’s no doubt, given Google’s highly data driven and user focused world that aspects of Google Instant, while daunting at first, wouldn’t be highly beneficial.

Here are the basic benefits of Google Instant for those not yet familiar with it:

Faster Searches: Google predicts your search showing results instantly as you’re typing. According to Google Instant this alone will save users 2-5 seconds per search.

Smarter Predictions: Google attempts to predict what you’re looking for when you may not know exactly what you’re setting out search for. As you type your sesrch query the top keyword prediction is shown in gray text directly in the search box, so users can stop typing as visually identify what you’re looking for.

Instant Search Results: The time between you typing in your search a letter at a time is extremely diminished as Google now displays search results litterly as you type. Many of my colleagues have confused this feature as “real-time” search results, that is not the case.

Now onto some stats on how this change has effected engagement as a result of search and Google Instant. According to Paid search management platform Marin Software, impressions and clicks increased in the two weeks after Instant’s launch compared with the two weeks before, while cost-per-click and clickthrough rates dropped. Overall costs increased slightly in the same period:

Research from search marketing solutions provider Covario, however, did not find the same increase in overall impressions, though it did record an increase in clicks on paid search ads—leading to higher, not lower, clickthrough rates. The company reported a shift in total search clicks away from organic and toward paid results, while cost per click remained constant.

Covario reported stable clickthrough rates for most search engines, but found Instant already had an effect on the search giant’s rates, bumping them up from 2.2% to 2.6% between Q2 and Q3 2010.

Whether you’re in the Marin camp or Covario camp, I’d love to hear more about whether there’s a sales correlation to this data. I’ll let you help me with my readers, how has Google Instant effected your business?

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