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A small company's dilemma: using search engines effectively for corporate sales

Kristin Kennedy (Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA, and)
Bonnie Brayton Kennedy (Kennedy Incorporated, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 8 August 2008



Smaller companies must continually review the pay‐per‐click (PPC) option or an organic listing on search engines. The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of a small manufacturing firm that is beginning to evaluate which search engine, Yahoo or Google, is more cost effective. Ultimately, management would like to identify if PPC advertising is worth the cost to a small company.


A one month's section of data from Yahoo and Google was examined. Patterns or indications as to which key word landed a better bid position was determined. Seven consecutive campaigns for click‐through rates (CTRs), average cost per click (CPC) and average position of keywords between the search engines Yahoo and Google were observed.


The average CPC was higher with Google. Kennedy Incorporated set a budget with Google and Yahoo to stay below a certain dollar limit, thus the total costs were the same. That would make the difference in the average CPC rather significant. Management also noticed a higher CTR on Yahoo than on Google. Thus it appears that Yahoo outperformed Google most of the time in the monthly samples.

Research limitations/implications

Longer historical data need to be studied, to see if these patterns continue. Other statistics that would be interesting to examine are data that would reveal how CTR in Yahoo and Google are affecting conversions to sales.


It appears from this data that Yahoo is outperforming Google for Kennedy Incorporated with a better CTR and a lower variance in average position when listed on the screen by a return from a search. The company has the impression that Yahoo is a better company for PPC advertising when the marketing budget is small.



Kennedy, K. and Brayton Kennedy, B. (2008), "A small company's dilemma: using search engines effectively for corporate sales", Management Research News, Vol. 31 No. 10, pp. 737-745.



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