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Search Ads Reap Big Rewards

In results released this week, interactive marketing firm DoubleClick reported that clicks, conversions and ROI for search advertisers gained in December.

The statistics come from the final installment of DoubleClick's Holiday 2004 Shopping Report with data derived from campaigns conducted by DoubleClick's Performics search engine marketing (SEM) division.

The average client conversion rates (the number of clients who clicked and then made a purchase divided by the number of clicks) grew by 124 percent over the third quarter, while the total conversion rate (the number of clients who clicked and then made a purchase) rose 446 percent during the same period.

DoubleClick also reported a high average number of daily clicks per client of greater than 144 percent in December over the third-quarter average.

The higher click and conversion rates also led to higher total gross revenues for merchants' SEM programs. The daily client average for total gross revenue from SEM was 375 percent greater than the average reported for the third quarter.

Advertisers were also paying more for those clicks in December, with the average price per click rising 23 percent. The increase in per-click prices combined with higher click volume meant that advertisers spent on average 200 percent more than they had in the previous quarter.

In the final analysis with increased clicks, click prices and conversion rates, advertisers reaped a 58 percent greater average ROI for their SEM spend in December than they did over the summer months.

"Consumers are increasingly finding ads targeted to search queries to be a valuable service when they are in shopping mode," said Stuart Frankel, Senior Vice President of DoubleClick and General Manager of Performics in a statement. "The success search advertisers found throughout the 2004 holiday shopping season is further evidence that search is a critical source of traffic and sales for online retailers."