Hitwise released data which seems to indicate that the share of search traffic coming from paid listings is decreasing at the expense of organic traffic.
- In the four weeks to May 9, 2009, 7.25% of search engine traffic to All Categories of websites was from paid clicks. This compares to 9.84% in the same four-week period in 2008 – representing a 26% decline in the share of paid clicks.
- The share of paid clicks to Insurance websites was down 22% for the year, Retail 500 down 20% and Travel Agencies down 25%. The steady and consistent decline across categories indicates that this is not an isolated or seasonal variance.
- 35.75% of clicks on searches for “orbitz” were on paid listings in the four weeks to May 9, 2009. This compares to 46.56% in the same four-week period in 2008. This represents a 23% decrease year over year.
Referrals from search engines continue to climb but the proportion of clicks going to sponsored or paid listings is decreasing. This is no doubt a result of cutbacks in marketing spend which seems to indicate that the recession could be the huge factor.