Recent research from sources such as comScore and Nielsen indicates, in a fairly decisive manner, that visits to a website that convert are more likely to come through a paid or sponsored link rather than from an organic or algorithmic link.
In effect, people visiting a website with the intention to buy are more likely to do so from a sponsored link than from an organic link, and thus more conversions are expected from sponsored links.
This pattern may vary to some extent, depending on the type of search being conducted.
For instance, searches related to news, sports or entertainment, which are not very likely to end in a purchase transaction may originate from an organic link.
On the other hand, searchers looking to purchase specific items are more likely to be attracted to a paid links, and a conversion is more likely to occur when a price tag or model name are available. According to Nick Drew, a researcher who works for Microsoft Advertising, this is largely down to the searcher’s frame of mind.
Someone looking to buy a product is likely to be drawn towards selling phrases such as “buy now”, “sale”, “discount” and prices, which are usually found on sponsored links, as again general information that can be found on organic results. Such a person would not find an organic result from a site such as Wikipedia very helpful when buying.
Conversely, someone looking for information will most likely be turned off by the salesy language on sponsored links, and will instead focus on the organic search results.
Both comScore and Nielsen’s research has found that in any given category of searches, a paid link is more likely to end in a purchase than an organic link. Hence, it is of great importance for marketers to promote their brands through sponsored ad listings.