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Paid or Organic: What's Best For E-Commerce?

Paid or Organic: What's Best For E-Commerce?

There are two ways to land a visible spot on the search engine list — paid efforts and organic campaigns. But while they are both effective digital marketing strategies, which one yields better long-term results for e-commerce stores?

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Both paid search and organic search are often used to increase inbound traffic to e-commerce sites. Paid search brings in relevant traffic through targeted promotions on the search engine results pages (SERPs) while organic search increases site visits through pure optimization techniques.

In fact, combining paid and organic marketing strategies help businesses generate more than 76% of their overall traffic. But between the two, organic search tends to work best for e-commerce businesses, especially those seeking a high, long-term return on investment (ROI).

Organic campaigns generate more than 53% of traffic across multiple industries compared to paid campaigns (15%). They remain the primary source of traffic, especially for e-commerce businesses, which get 41% of their traffic from this marketing strategy. Moreover, companies generate over 43% year-over-year (YOY) increase in traffic through consistent unpaid efforts. But aside from traffic, organic search is also the leading source of revenue across vertical segments. Indeed, organic campaigns are becoming increasingly profitable, surpassing the growth of other marketing channels.

But why is organic search the more dominant channel? This is because it guarantees a more reliable footing for e-commerce businesses. Organic might not generate immediate results like paid marketing but it provides companies with a steady performance in SERPs for an extended timeframe.

Aside from that, businesses generate compounded benefits like improved engagement and increased impressions that help them grow. Surprisingly, the click-through rate (CTR) is higher (32%) in organic campaigns than in paid campaigns (5%). Clearly, consumers show more interest and trust in marketing initiatives that are not sponsored.

However, this doesn't mean that paid search is unprofitable to e-commerce sites. The advantage of paid search is that it boosts the performance of time-sensitive campaigns. Seasonal promotions get immediate exposure and instant results in SERPs with less effort than organic campaigns. Paid search helps companies claim the top spot of search results and gain a 3.75% conversion rate (CVR) versus organic search (2.5%).

Paid search is much more effective for these types of campaigns because it's precise. It goes after ready-to-buy users instead of just general consumers. Through paid search, e-commerce businesses can tailor campaigns using different factors, such as language, device, keyword, or location, unlike organic search, which lacks that capacity.

Ultimately, organic marketing is the more sustainable tool in achieving long-term growth and success for e-commerce businesses. Paid marketing is just a supplementary device that helps companies target areas that organic efforts can’t reach.

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