Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

An Analysis of the Importance of the Long Tail in Search Engine Marketing

Eckert, Jochen
Volume: 9
Number: 6
Pages: 488 - 494
Month: November-December
ISSN-Print: 1567-4223
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2010
Keywords: Longtail; Search engine marketing; Online marketing
Abstract: Searchenginemarketing is currently the most popular form of online advertising. Many advertising agencies and bloggers claim that the success of searchenginemarketing is driven by the “longtail”, defined in this research as the many less popular keywords employed by users to search the Internet, and suggest that searchenginemarketing campaigns need to have hundreds or thousands of keywords to accommodate this phenomenon. We doubt this claim. Our data from three searchenginemarketing campaigns in two countries, which report the success of a total of 4908 keywords over 36 weeks, covering 10,104,015 searches and 492,735 clicks, show that the top 20% of all keywords attract on average 98.16% of all searches and generate 97.21% of all clicks. The use of the top 100 keywords in each campaign attracts on average 88.57% of all searches and 81.40% of all clicks. These results are fairly stable across a varying total number of keywords in use and suggest that the success of searchenginemarketing is driven by relatively few keywords. However, we also show that the set of the top 100 keywords changes over time. Hence, advertisers need to concentrate on finding the top 100 keywords, but they do not need to bother too much about the performance of keywords in the longtail.