US Search Engine Ads Prove Direct Response Sales Stunner

16 July 2003

$200 million (€176.65m; £124.41m) in online travel sales, plus over two million individual applications for financial services in just three months! That’s the response generated by so-called search marketing (internet search-engine advertising), reports a new study.

Released Tuesday, by the US Interactive Advertising Bureau and comScore Networks, the study tracks the quarter ended May 30, analysing click-through rates and buyer conversion for sponsored search ads on behalf of sixteen leading travel and financial services marketers.

The poll found that among these marketers – whose number included American Airlines, Marriott hotels, Bank of America, Citibank and State Farm Insurance – nearly two-thirds were satisfied with the ROI generated by search marketing.

Among the brands studied, sponsored search results achieved four times the click-through rates of traditional search results, indicating paid search as a highly effective means of driving qualified buyers to web sites. Nearly 90% of the sample declared they will spend as much or more on paid search next year.

Keyword search represented 15% of all online ad revenues in 2002, says PricewaterhouseCoopers, which validated the research. This makes it one of the fastest-growing segments in interactive marketing.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff