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So… how do customers get to online retailer sites anyway? (Hint:

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So… how do customers get to online retailer sites anyway? (Hint:

Just read an amazing fact: less than 10% of online retailers’ Web traffic comes from search engines (according to Nielsen data in an AdAge article called Why Search May Not Click for Retailers).

This means that most of the traffic is coming from somewhere else… but where?

A Nielsen study found that 61% comes from people going directly to a retail site (typing Amazon.com in a browser, for instance). Another 10% of the traffic comes from branded searches (like typing in Zappos into a search bar rather than searching for “shoes”).

These two traffic trends underscore the importance of branding—and if you want to promote your brand, display ads are going to be much, much more effective than search ads. In the words of one of the Nielsen researchers:

“… the fact that such a high percentage of people go directly to retail sites and even those that search generally have a pretty clear intent as to which website they’d like to go to—it makes a compelling argument that brand and past experiences [with a marketer] matter an awful lot…”

Of course, search and display together can work even better than either by itself. And the data doesn’t stop there. Check this out, from an article in MediaPost called The Click Is Wagging the Dog.

“In the retail/consumer electronics category, for example, we saw that 66% of the online universe was exposed to a campaign within a month but did not click; another 0.1% (that’s a tenth of a percent) was exposed and clicked. But that 66% of exposed non-clickers accounted for 89% of the page views at advertised Web sites over the course of the month. These data strongly support a conclusion that the ad exposures are pulling those consumers a little further through the funnel.”

Posted by Justin Baker on Nov 10, 2009