If you have a habit of analyzing paid search orders on the basis of where they are placed by new or existing customers is a handy exercise. It helps determine how different areas of an account can help you in following two ways:

  • Driving new buyers to your website
  • Retaining customers

There’s more to it. A thorough analysis of paid search orders also gives you insight of the searchers’ behavior as they click on ads. It also shows how brand recognition impacts their purchase decision on the SERP.

How Customers Interact With Paid Search Ads

In order to illustrate that, Canada search engine marketing company will be unravelling some of its old versus new customer data.

Non-Brand Orders Vs Brand Orders

It is good to start by observing keyword segmentation, because it reveals an obvious difference in the share of orders that have been placed by new customers.

At large, the share of non-brand orders from new customers is found to be 3 times more than that of brand orders. This actually makes sense, because your existing customer would type your brand’s name and they are likely to purchase. In comparison, someone who doesn’t know your business, would type generic query relevant to your brand.

But there’s some more interesting insights. In the next section, you will read about the differences in performance based on the category.

Orders that Meet Urgent Customer Needs Have Higher Share

If you’re selling a wide range of products and some of them can be categorized as meeting a fairly immediate need, you can get higher revenues.

Looking at new versus existing customers by product category for non-brand keywords, this advertiser finds that keywords for those products that would be considered more discretionary in nature produce a lower share of orders attributed to new-to-file customers.

This is fairly logical, as existing customers with immediate needs would likely head to that brand’s site. They would also follow the route of typing branded search and then heading to the concerned area for purchase. On the other hand, searchers with an immediate need who search for a non-brand query are more likely to be “free agents” and become new-to-file customers for the brand they convert with.

Although, all businesses do not sell products that meet an urgent need, but it’s an interesting difference nonetheless.

Cross Device Usage: Orders from New Customers Differ Significantly

When it comes to smartphone searches, the share of non-brand paid search orders coming from new customers is higher than those of desktops and tablets.

You can benefit from “showrooming”. This means, searchers are already in your store for making purchase immediately but they check online for detailed information, such as deals, coupons and other information.The takeaway is, searchers on phones are more likely to be new customers for this advertiser than users on desktop or tablet devices, since they are more likely to be in a showrooming situation.

Existing Customers Are More Likely To Find Your Ads In Lower Positions

According to the data on ad position and share of orders by existing customers, gathered from an advertiser:If the average position of Google Non-Brand ad on desktop is between 1 and 1.9, the share of orders from existing customers was 34%. Between 2 and 2.9, the share increased to 39%. It keeps on increasing as the non-brand ad’s position going down to 4 – 4.9.

This indicates that users are more likely to find your ad and convert through it if they already have an existing relationship with your brand. On the other side of the coin, higher-position ads might better help to win new customers by catching their eye and establishing trust than ads in lower positions.

Thus, advertisers might actually be able to reduce bids for users who are already known to be familiar with the brand and still get clicks from these users.


Finally, if you want to create effective KPIs for paid search ad campaigns, and optimize each part of account to achieve your goals of customer acquisition and retention, you need segment new versus old customer share on the basis of following factors:

  • Keyword attributes
  • ad position, and
  • device