This week at AD:TECH Chicago, Atlas DMT, an advertising technology provider and an operating unit of aQuantive, Inc., released research demonstrating the impact of paid search listings rank on traffic and how marketers can better model and forecast paid search campaigns.

The research conducted by Atlas DMT provides traffic forecasting benchmarks by quantifying the trade-offs between the top 10 ranks in paid search. The insights will be used to inform strategic decisions for search marketing campaigns and advise tactical executions for specific keywords. In addition to paid search, the principles of the study also apply to paid inclusion and natural search.

"Paying for the number one ranking may not be the best strategy for all advertisers," said Young-Bean Song, director of analytics and the Atlas Institute, Atlas DMT.  "For some marketers the cost of traffic associated with the top ranking may be too high. On the other hand, some marketers are forgoing the top spot, without really knowing how many customers they are losing to their competitors. Most advertisers don't know whether they are paying too much, or needlessly missing out on sales."

The research found that overall, advertisers should expect about a 10 times difference in potential traffic between the top and 10th rankings. The research further revealed significant differences across the two leading search providers. One insight included the strength of Google's number one ranking. The amount of potential traffic drops more than 40 percent between the number one ranking on Google and the search engine's number two ranking. At Yahoo!'s Overture, the drop is more gradual, as it delivers to advertisers increased traffic potential for rankings one through four compared to its rival.

Utilizing data from Atlas Search, an integrated search marketing and online campaign management system, the performance of hundreds of millions of impressions and clicks for tens of thousands of keywords were analyzed.

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