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04|13|2009 05:46 pm EDT

Study Shows Generic Domains Improve PPC Campaign Results

by Chad Kettner in Categories: PPC industry

Many internet marketers have speculated that generic domains are favorable for pay-per-click marketing because of their increased relevancy, however one domain name reseller has decided to prove it. MemorableDomains.co.uk, a seller of high quality generic domain names, has released a study comparing three identical PPC ads featuring different domain names — one generic name with an exact match to the product, one alternative generic, and one non-generic — to measure which style of domain name attracts the most clicks.

First, the company developed and published an 11-page information-based minisite dedicated to electric bicycles, a popular product group among environmentally-friendly travellers. It then used three domain names to compare the results:

  • ElectricBicycles.co.uk: an “ideal” matching generic domain.
  • YourBikes.co.uk: an alternative generic domain with some keyword benefits.
  • InAHurry.co.uk: a “traditional” coined, keyword-poor domain.

After some keyword research and so forth, Memorable Domains set up a Google Adwords campaign with two Ad Groups (one built around “bicycle” and “bicycles”, the other built around “bike” or “bikes”) and tested three things:

  1. The overall Adwords performance of each domain name…
  2. The comparative Adwords performance of an “ideal” generic name when it closely matches a set of relevant search terms…
  3. The comparative Adwords performance of an “ideal” generic name for a set of search terms where other generic domains might be appropriate (such as “electric bikes”)…

Each website featured identical landing pages and minisites while each PPC ad used the exact same copy and headline, only with a different display URL. The destination link for the ad headline matched the display URL.

The campaign ran from February 10 to February 22, 2009 and produced the following results:

Featured Domain Impressions Clicks CTR CPC ($)
ElectricBicycles.co.uk 38,404 907 2.36% 0.2504
YourBikes.co.uk 30.222 624 2.06% 0.2531
InAHurry.co.uk 26,718 443 1.66% 0.2589

Even without optimizing the ad rotation within the campaign setup, Google favored the generic domain by giving it 27% and 44% more impressions than the alternatives. This, added to producing a higher CTR, meant that the generic domain produced 45% more clicks than the alternative generic and 105% more than the keyword-poor domain names while also having a lower cost per click.

“A generic domain name outperforms a non-generic name by delivering a higher CTR and an even higher number of total clicks,” said Edwin Haward of Memorable Domains in the report. “The exception is likely to be where the non-generic name is an established brand or website with a strong awareness and trust factor for the product or service search terms in question.

Even in such cases, a generic domain name has potential value in targeting very specific product or service search terms with an appropriate keyword-rich domain. Established brands should consider a generic name for minisites associated with a particular product, service or ad campaign.”

Click her for the full report.

[via Memorable Domains]

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5 Comments

Ron

April 13, 2009 @ 10:09 pm EDT

Very interesting study on PPC.

For organic search an ideal matching domain also has an enormous value. This is also true for local search results having a generic area+service name.

If you were running a successful large company why wouldn’t you buy all generic domain names associated with the products you sell? If not to prevent competition.

Still a question a puzzles me to this day.

Kevin Ohashi

April 14, 2009 @ 6:38 pm EDT

Great work edwin :) always great to see empirical data on such things

Alex Tajirian

April 15, 2009 @ 7:51 am EDT

A vast majority of the popular domain appraisal services, including DomainConsultant, which has an affiliation with this site, use trademarks as one of explanatory variables. Thus, the findings of the blog’s report and the appraisal services cannot be both correct. However, they both can have flawed proprietary methodologies.

Adam Strong

April 15, 2009 @ 11:18 am EDT

I appreciate you pointing out that DomainConsultant has an affiliation with this site, as if it made any difference in anything that was written in the above article (written by 2 separate authors with no connection).

Alex, should we also point out that you have an affiliation with an “appraisal service”, which gives anything you write a direct bias ?

If you want to have a discussion about DomainConsultant or any other “flawed proprietary methodologies”, feel free to email me directly and I’ll put you in touch with the creator. A post about improving click through rates with generic domains is not the appropriate venue to critique appraisal services. My email address is available in the contact us section and I’m sure you can find it elsewhere.

[…] Study Shows Generic Domains Improve PPC Campaign Results Many internet marketers have speculated that generic domains are favorable for pay-per-click marketing because of their increased relevancy, however one domain name reseller has decided to prove it. MemorableDomains.co.uk, a seller of high quality generic domain names, has released a study comparing three identical PPC ads featuring different domain names — one generic name with an exact match to the product, one alternative generic, and one non-generic — to measure which style of domain name attracts the most clicks. First, the company developed and published an 11-page information-based minisite dedicated to electric bicycles, a popular product group among environmentally-friendly travellers. It then used three domain names to compare the results: More… […]

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