Paid search visits have a 35% higher conversion rate for e-commerce websites compared with visits from organic search, according to a recent report by MarketLive.

The report, which was based on data from more than 200 e-commerce websites with over $1.5 billion in combined annual sales, found that visitors arriving from paid search links had a 2.6% average conversion rate in the first six months of 2013, compared with a 1.9% conversion rate for organic search visits.

Paid search visitors also had slightly higher average order sizes ($113 compared with $109.66) and pages per visit (7.1 compared with 6.8).

Below, additional key findings from the MarketLive Performance Index.

Paid vs. Organic Mix

  • Paid search visits made up about one-third of total search engine visits in the first six months of 2013 to the sites examined in the study; up from 26% in 2012.
  • Revenue from paid search grew to 44% of total search engine visit revenue, up from 40% in 2012.

Mobile and Tablet Traffic

  • One-third of traffic to the e-commerce websites examined came from from mobile and tablet devices in the first half of 2013.
  • Tablet traffic grew three times faster than smartphone traffic in that period.

Revenue and Conversion Trends

  • The merchants examined recorded a 15% average increase in revenue and 6% increase in conversion in the first six months of 2013.
  • The beauty/health and brand manufacturer sectors each registered strong growth in conversion rates, posting 16% and 14% increases, respectively.

Bounce Rates

  • Although up only slightly, the average bounce rate increased for the tenth consecutive quarter. However, homepage bounce rates were actually down sharply, decreasing 17% on average.
  • Overall, bounce rates ranged from 24% to 40% for the sites examined in the study.
  • The apparel, footwear, and accessories sector, which already had the lowest average bounce rate in the same period in 2012, showed additional improvement, dropping to 24%.

About the research: Volume 21 of the Performance Index was based on data from the MarketLive customer base collected in the first six months of 2013.

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Paid Search vs. Organic Search: Which Converts Better?

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji