How to save up to 44% of the budget per context if your site is in the top of Yandex

    If the site is simultaneously in the top positions in organic search and in special placement in contextual advertising, which of the two links will the user click on? Which channel will bring the advertiser traffic?

    Most users will click on the top link - contextual ad. The advertiser will pay for these clicks, although with the advertisement disabled, he could get free clicks from the search. It turns out that one channel pulls users from another. This phenomenon is called traffic cannibalization.

    It turns out that contextual advertising takes away the clicks of those users who already would have redirected to the site using the link from organic results. Let's find out how much this happens and how it affects advertising costs.

    How much context does the search take?

    The first study of the cannibalization of traffic was undertaken by Google specialists , then Yandex studies appeared . According to Google, when you turn off contextual advertising, you can lose about 85% of the traffic. This value is called IAC - Incremental Ad Clicks.

    In other words, about 15% of the traffic that the context provides to the advertisers is already organic.

    According to Yandex research, if a site takes the first place in search results, when contextual advertising is turned off, advertisers cannot compensate for up to 48% of the traffic.
    Fig. 1. Yandex study results: IAC values ​​depending on the site position in organic results

    It turns out that contextual advertising takes away from organics from 10 to 50% of the traffic. To get more accurate data, we at decided to conduct our own research.

    eLama conducts research

    We set 2 tasks: to calculate exactly what fraction of the traffic the context pulls, and whether this always happens.

    Let us consider in more detail the conditions of the experiment, so that if you wish, you can conduct it for your project.

    The study involved advertisers from various industries: sales of tires, installation of plastic windows, children's clothing.

    Among the queries, we chose those that provide these sites with impressions on the first five lines at least three hundred times a month on Yandex search. We took only commercial requests, informational and branded were not used. Also, one of the conditions was the placement of 3 contextual ads in a special placement and 4 in a guarantee for a certain key request.

    Then we started testing. We created two absolutely identical advertising campaigns and launched them alternately. One day, the first campaign worked in a special accommodation. The next time we turned it off and launched the second one in the guaranteed impressions block. So we managed to get a representative sample.

    Fig. 2. Setting up an advertising campaign for research

    So we were able to track the CTR in the search results. When a user enters a query into a search engine, contextual advertising is displayed either in the upper or lower block. Having built a report in Yandex.Direct on the number of ad impressions for the phrase of interest, we get the number of queries to the search engine. The number of clicks for this query from the search results can be viewed in Yandex.Metrica. Dividing one into the other, we get the CTR for this phrase in organic results.

    What we got

    As a result, we found out that as soon as the context is launched in special placement, the number of clicks on links from search results is reduced by an average of 44%.

    On average, for all groups of queries, CTR in SEO with context in special placement was 8.1%, and with context only under search results - 14.55%.

    Fig. 3. Dependence of clicks on links in organic results on the placement of contextual advertising

    Of course, CTR could not be the same in all cases. The differences may be due, for example, to the features of a particular ad, or to the position of the site in the search results.

    This graph shows the dependence of conversions to the site from search results when displaying contextual advertising in special placement and guarantees. You can see that when placing ads in the guarantee, the number of clicks from the search increases, and when showing ads in special placements, it decreases.
    Fig. 4. Traffic fluctuations from the search depending on the placement of contextual advertising

    Despite the fact that the data on the ad groups differ, the general trend is clearly visible: the context really always takes traffic from the organics.

    Counting money

    Now we’ll look at how traffic delay affects the advertising budget.

    Order value can be calculated as the ratio of costs to conversions. When you enable contextual advertising, the flow of customers from the search is reduced by about 44%. For calculations, we round the value to 40%.

    That is, if a site is in the top five of search results, when launching contextual advertising over SERPs, you can get only about 60% of new customers:

    Context CPO in special placement = CPC * clicks / (conversions * 0.6)

    If your goal is to get as much as possible conversions at any cost, it’s profitable for you to run contextual advertising in a special placement. But if you need to optimize your budget, you can reduce the cost per click by 44%.

    Thus, if a site is included in the top five search results for a specific search query, in order to optimize the budget, the maximum bid in the context should be multiplied by a reduction factor of 20-40%. To calculate the coefficient, you can also rely on data from the Yandex study about IAC (see Fig. 1).

    How to optimize bids in context, taking into account the position of the site in the search

    Managing bids manually is already difficult, and if you take into account the odds each time, then the task becomes almost impossible.

    But here automation comes to the aid of advertisers. After the study, we at supplemented our bid automation tool with the ability to take into account the position in Yandex search.

    The maximum bid will be recalculated depending on the time of day and the position of the site in the search results for certain requests.

    Fig. 5. Automatic bid management depending on the position in the search in

    What is important to pay attention to when managing bids depending on positions in the search

    When working with this tool, we recommend that you consider the following factors. To make it work as accurately as possible, enable it only for campaigns with the most accurate semantics or for campaigns with exact match queries.

    It is also necessary to configure geo-targeting as precisely as possible, as search results in different regions may vary.

    Keep in mind that a single search query can show multiple contextual ads. But it is far from always possible to check which positions a site occupies in the search for all these key queries.

    And the last one. Since search engines take into account the search history of specific users, conduct experiments, etc., the same site can occupy different positions on different devices of different users.

    To summarize, we can advise you the following: attract users using both channels, but remember that one channel can drag traffic from the other, and take this into account when pricing.

    Presentation of the study at the conference "SPIC 2015"

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