According to a new study by Engine Ready, based on traffic to 26 e-retail sites in a 12-month period that ended June 30, visitors who arrive at a retailer’s site from paid search ads are 50% more likely to buy than those who come from clicking on a natural search link. The conversion rate from paid search is 2.03% versus 1.26% from organic search, according to the study as reported by Internet Retailer.

The report is based on an analysis of 20.8 million visits and 108 million page views to 26 e-commerce sites from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.

This study, identified and measured 4 primary traffic source categories that encapsulate all source origins:

* Organic listings
* Paid listings
* Direct access and bookmarks
* Other referrer

Most likely to buy are consumers who navigate directly to a retailer’s site by typing in a URL or clicking on a bookmark, as their conversion rate registered at 7.38%. Consumers who came to an e-commerce site from another site or an e-mail converted at 6.58%, the study shows. The overall conversion rate was 3.6%. (This means the PPC conversion rate is still much lower than direct access and bookmarks visits)

The study found that:

* Paid search visitors bought the most, with an average order value of $117.06 versus $109.27 for those coming from other sites, $106.64 for visitors from organic search and $95.29 from direct referrals, such as from a bookmark or direct entry of a URL
* Average order value for all retailers in the study was $104.21, down 31.7% from a previous Engine Ready study that analyzed data from a two-year period that ended December 2007. Retailers said average order values from all channels have declined in the past 12 to 18 months
* The average time on a site per visit increased 5.8% from the previous study to 4 minutes, 33 seconds. Consumers who navigated directly to a site spent 5 minutes, 8 seconds. The study found consumers who spent more time on a site were more likely to buy, but that their average order value was not higher than that of other buyers
* Site visitors on average viewed 5.2 pages per visit, up 15.6% from the previous study. Those who came directly or from other sites or e-mail viewed the most pages, 6.2 on average
* Average number of seconds on a page dropped 9% from the earlier study to 53 seconds, which could be a sign marketers are doing a better job of presenting information on their pages in a more easily readable format, the study says. Paid search visitors spent the most time on a page, 66 seconds on average.
* 43.9% of all visitors left after viewing just one page, down slightly from 44.5% in the earlier study. Organic search produced the highest bounce rate, 48.5%, and direct access the lowest, 39.2%
* Direct access produced the largest share of site visits (40%), followed by other referring sites and e-mail (27.9%), paid search (19.8%) and organic search (12.3%)

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