A big retailer had a simple but difficult question for us.

“How many extra clicks do we get by appearing in paid search when we’re already top of organic search results?”

For example.

This well-known advertiser is taking no chances. For this search term they’re #1 in Google shopping, search ads and organic results.

But if you’re already earning the prime organic position, why pay for clicks?

Would users still click through on the organic link if the paid ads weren’t there?

Are the paid ads stealing or cannibalising organic traffic that would have been free?

What’s the incremental number of clicks coming from the paid ads?

This has a fundamental impact on how we measure ROI.

Imagine a baseline – with no paid presence – of 100 organic clicks per day.

Add in search ads and they get 100 clicks. That’s 200 total, right?

But 50 organic users have now clicked a paid ad instead – so we actually have 150 clicks in total – 50 of those are incremental.

Look what happens as paid ads increase from zero to 100% of impressions for a specific user search term.

Based purely on past data we built a predictive model that enabled our client to optimise their strategy based on truly incremental traffic and conversion value. By device, category and search type.

And they were able to increase ROI and make a data-led case for paid search.