PPC Study:A Generic Domain Doubles The Clicks On A PPC Campaign

Memorabledomains.co.uk, A UK based company, released a study (pdf) today, on the performance of using a top generic catergory killer domain in a PPC campaign and compared it to the the results to, using a lesser quality domains.

Although the study is just a case study limited to one situation, it is still interesting, especially in the absence of a larger study.

According to memorable domains:

They tested three domains in an AdWords PPC campaign for electric bicycles.

Ads featuring a generic domain name with an exact match to the product (ElectricBicycles.co.uk) and found that those ads  performed significantly better than identical ads featuring an alternative generic (YourBikes.co.uk) or non-generic (InAHurry.co.uk).

The CTR of ads using the ElectricBicycles.co.uk domain name was 15% and 42% higher
than the two alternatives.

The ElectricBicycles.co.uk ads produced 45% more clicks than the YourBikes.co.uk ads and
105% more clicks than the InAHurry.co.uk ads.

“””We conclude that the strong performance of a generic domain name is driven by factors such as:

· the close match between the domain name and the product searched for (irrespective of the
search keywords used)

· automatic bolding of search terms in the domain

· the potential positive impact of the domain name on ad quality score

Marketers should consider using generic domain names for dedicated PPC search engine campaigns
for specific products, services or advertising initiatives.”””

Nothing surprising about the results to domainers, but how many of us have tried this and then reported on it?

Another little fact to point to when educating non-domainers on the value of generic category killer domains.

- The CTR of ads featuring an “ideal match” generic domain was between 15% and 42% higher than either of the generic and non-generic domain name alternatives.

- The winning generic domain name also produced between 45% and 105% more clicks than the alternatives, across the same timeframe and keyword set.

Edwin Hayward, owner of Memorable Domains (who undertook the study) said, “We finally have some hard numbers to back up the long-standing belief that generic domain names attract more clicks in search engine listings.”

Hayward says the click boost likely comes from:

- the close match between the domain name and the product searched for (irrespective of the search keywords used)

- automatic bolding of search terms in the domain

- the potential positive impact of the domain name on ad quality score

“Businesses looking to improve CTR and clicks from their PPCSE campaigns now have a proven and simple technique for doing so: use a targeted generic domain name in your ads.”

Hayward also notes that even companies with well-established brand name websites can benefit from the study’s insights, by matching generic domains with appropriate keyword groups and driving traffic to product-, service- or campaign-specific minisites

A challenge for online marketers is getting more clicks out of their pay-per-click search engine
campaigns.

One approach is to use a generic domain name in PPC ads, since product- or service-related
keywords in the displayed domain name and landing page should attract more clicks from people
searching for that product or service.

We tested this theory using an AdWords PPC campaign for electric bicycles.

Ads featuring a generic domain name with an exact match to the product (ElectricBicycles.co.uk)
performed significantly better than identical ads featuring an alternative generic (YourBikes.co.uk)
or non-generic (InAHurry.co.uk) domain.

The CTR of ads using the ElectricBicycles.co.uk domain name was 15% and 42% higher
than the two alternatives.

The ElectricBicycles.co.uk ads produced 45% more clicks than the YourBikes.co.uk ads and
105% more clicks than the InAHurry.co.uk ads.

We conclude that the strong performance of a generic domain name is driven by factors such as:

· the close match between the domain name and the product searched for (irrespective of the
search keywords used)
· automatic bolding of search terms in the domain
· the potential positive impact of the domain name on ad quality score

Marketers should consider using generic domain names for dedicated PPC search engine campaigns
for specific products, services or advertising initiatives.

Comments

  1. says

    This is great news for generic domain owners, and one more arrow in our quiver of “reasons why” to own generics.

    Though it wasn’t tested, I suspect that higher CTRs would also result in using the .com version and/or well-known/well-used country code TLDs when selling in/to those respective/corresponding countries.

  2. says

    I’ve long felt this was the case with generics, but I’ve always based it on limited instances and going with my gut.

    This case study is just more evidence to support my suppostions.

    Thanks for the material.

    Cheers,
    Ken

  3. says

    Generics will always outperform brandable sound good/cool domains. This is nothing new obviously and anybody involved with any type of advertising/marketing on the internet knows this.

    Both the search engines and users prefer and favor exact match keyword domains.

    Good domain = good business (it’s not always the case but assumed so perception is everything)

    Kudos to Ed for the case study and putting it out there.

  4. says

    I’d be curious what impact the extension had to the same keyword. They had co.uk for example, but how does that compare to .com or .info. Obviously some extensions work better for certain generic domains but it’d be nice to have some actual studies done (as someone who owns a lot of generics in other domain extensions then .com, this is of great interest to me personally :) ). From what I’ve seen, Google does a fair (but arguably not perfect) good job of trying to keep extension neutral but what do users think when they are clicking an Ad?

  5. says

    I would agree that many people already believe generics have superior value. Studies like this elevate such beliefs to the objective, “proof” level that will even further influence the ad market.

    I hope we see more such studies.

  6. says

    This also probably puts value in subdomains of generics for advertisers. If someone sells maps of the earth, earth.com (our domain) would ultimately be a great domain name for them, but maps.earth.com would probably be more affordable, and still provide the seller with a great generic to use for their site….and a way for generic domain owners to make more revenue in addition to PPC. The beauty of it is after the advertiser is done with maps.earth.com, the domain would still get the traffic if they’ve done any branding. : )

  7. says

    I’m glad you found the study interesting. It’s unfortunate that Google has changed its ad grouping policy so that a follow-up study can’t be set up (not without extensive workarounds anyway) but at least there’s now something concrete out there that you can point to when you need to “prove” the value of a domain name to PPC advertisers.

    Of course, we all know that there’s a lot more value than that (organic SEO benefits, enhanced credibility, etc), but in the case of a larger ad campaign the boost that a generic can bring might be sufficient justification in itself to buy matching domains for the campaign’s target niche.

  8. Snoopy says

    Using one example in a study isn’t likely to provide compelling evidence to advertisers of the theory that popular keyword terms produce high CTR’s than others.

  9. proamarketer says

    MBH, excellent one tip. Would even benefit the starters. Even am seeing my results in tidal with out using generic domain name. I do feel this should help even increasing the Quality Score of the over all campaign… One small thing i noted the content got duplicated…i don’t think you did it knowingly.. Please correct it once as i could see the same points being reprized over the whole post…

  10. says

    I’m a big fan of using generic domain names, but as with most things there are pros and cons. Using a generic isn’t universally “better” than a highly brand-able name, it really depends on your site and your goals.

    Don’t underestimate the power of branding! While generics may have better PPC results (that depends a lot on the campaign, too) the trade off is that your site won’t have the same “sticky factor” or brand-ability. For many sites, that is fine and dandy (most companies don’t really understand or care about this anyway), but there’s a reason why Books.com isn’t as big as Amazon.com, Google.com trumps Search.com, Dell.com outshines Computer.com, etc.

  11. says

    It’s not surprising the results of the generic domain outdid the other 2; however I’d be curious to see the data pertaining to average position of ads for the generic domain vs the other 2. In most cases (speaking from own experience), the generic domain will consistently attain the #1 position since it is containing the generic search (“electric bicycles”). As a result, Google or any search engine will/should deem this ad as likely being the most relevant to the user’s query which in turn increases the probability of clicks and in turn increases the monetary value of the ad from the search engine’s viewpoint. Of course the domain name also plays into a high QS which in turn contributes to higher positioning, but nonetheless I am curious to see the avg. positions of all 3 domains.

    Also, the generic domain may have produced higher clicks & CTR statistics but what about conversions? Did the domain have the same effect on conversion statistics in comparison to the other 2?

Comment Policy:

TheDomains.com welcomes reader comments. Please follow these simple rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Refrain from personal attacks
  • Avoid profanity
  • Links should be related to the topic of the post
  • No spamming. Listing domains, products, or services will get the comment deleted

We reserve the right to remove comments if we deem it necessary.

Join the Discussion