The increase in prices to advertise on social sites like Facebook could push U.S. presidential candidates into the arms of search engine marketers, especially on the Yahoo-Bing network, where the cost per click (CPC) remains lower for many keywords.
The CPC to run social ads on Facebook rose 180% from the start to the end of Q1 2015. It's reflective in Facebook's fourth quarter 2014 earnings report, reporting revenues in the U.S. up 54% sequentially. TechCrunch notes that revenue per advertiser in the U.S. grew 24% during the same time period, suggesting brands paid more.
Candidates may have an opportunity to run tighter search campaigns with fewer funds, compared with social. Ted Cruz is spending the most on paid search of the four candidates, about 31.65% of his search traffic is paid, yet he has the second lowest percentage of traffic to his Web site coming from search, 11.28% vs. 26.95% for Hillary and 19% for Rand Paul. Only Marco Rubio has a lower percentage of traffic coming from search, 7.43%, and 7.13% of his search traffic comes from paid search.
SimilarWeb notes that the age 40-something candidates who run paid search campaigns, but they still generate less of their Web site traffic from search than the 50-something Rand Paul and the 60-something Clinton.
Clinton's Web site pulled in 33.74% of direct traffic on desktop during the past three months, but referrals pulled in 22.72%, with the top referrals coming from Politics1.com and Mashable.com. Display drove a mere 0.04%; mail, 0%; social, 0.60%, and search, 61.90%.
On desktop in March, Clinton's site received 90,000 visitors who spent on average 25 second on the site viewing about 1.76 pages, with a bounce rate -- the rate at which site visitors came and went -- averaging 54.61%, per SimilarWeb. Globally, the site ranked 358,762; in the United States, 124,215; and among law and government sites, 5,147.
Visitors who stopped by hillaryclinton.com also visited auto buying sites, computers and electronics, business and industry, and law and government sites. Individuals visiting marcorubio.com also visited categories like business and industry, people and society, religion and spirituality, and law and government.
During the same time frame, social drove the majority of traffic to marcorubio.com, about 25.98%. Direct traffic contributed 48.23%; referrals, 16.40%; and search, 9.39%. The top three organic search traffic keywords were "marco rubio," "rubio campaign," "marco rubio campaign." Paid search on google.com drove 7.13% of traffic vs. 92.87% from organic search. The site received 25,000 visitors spending 1:26 minutes on the site, viewing an average of 1.92 pages. The bounce rate was 57.79%.