You Guys Get a Phone Call From Google or Something?
Now that the markets have had their say about comScore’s (SCOR) wonderfully dramatic report on Google’s (GOOG) lousy paid-click performance, the traffic tracker has circled back to take another look at it and concluded that the decrease in Google’s paid clicks it observed doesn’t necessarily suggest a slowdown in the company’s business.
In a blog post today, comScore CEO Magid Abraham and senior VP James Lamberti argue that the decline in paid clicks is likely the result of improvements in Google’s click programs. “The evidence suggests that the softness in Google’s paid-click metrics is primarily a result of Google’s own quality initiatives that result in a reduction in the number of paid listings and, therefore, the opportunity for paid clicks to occur,” the two wrote. “In addition, the reduction in the incidence of paid listings existed progressively throughout 2007 and was successfully offset by improved revenue per click. … Separately, there is no evidence of a slowdown in consumers clicking on paid search ads for rest of the U.S. search market.”
What’s more, the comScore execs write, Google’s click-quality initiatives don’t necessarily translate into more clicks. “If the ads are more relevant, consumers would need fewer clicks to get what they are looking for,” they explain. “Perversely, a high number of clicks means that the ads are not delivering what the user is looking for on the first try, which induces additional clicks on the second or third try. The benefits to marketers are real, but also counterintuitive. If the users get to what they want with fewer clicks, it means those clicks have a higher conversion rate, or deliver higher quality leads.”
Ah. Well, if that’s the case, why didn’t you say so in the first place? Or at least before you singlehandedly knocked 7% off the company’s share price.