A recent MediaPost blog posting by Jack Loechner caught my eye. It highlights a new study by search engine marketing firm Engine Ready that sought to uncover which advertising tactic generated higher returns: pay-per-click or search engine optimization. By studying all the different ways visitors arrive at Web sites, the analysis wound up yielding some very interesting results regarding email.
The study, which looked at 20.8 million visits to 26 e-commerce sites from July 2008 through June 2009, shows that paid search visitors are nearly twice as likely to buy as those who arrive from organic search. For those who arrived at an e-commerce site from a PPC ad, the conversion rate was 2.03 percent. The conversion rate for SEO visitors was 1.26 percent.
But, as it turns out, email visitors blew both out of the water. For visitors who came to an e-commerce site by clicking a link in an email, the conversion rate was 6.58 percent—more than three times that of PPC and five times that of SEO. Not only is email a relatively inexpensive channel by comparison, but its conversion rate and ROI is clearly unmatched.