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Study: AOL Search Leads In Converting Shoppers To Buyers

When it comes to consumers buying products and services online, AOL is ahead of Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google, a Web analytics firm says.
America Online Inc. in January had the best rate for shoppers becoming buyers out of the four top search engines, a Web analytics firm said Wednesday.

AOL Search's conversion rate at business-to-consumer e-commerce sites was 6.17 percent, followed by Microsoft Corp.'s MSN, 6.03 percent; Yahoo Inc., 4.07 percent; and Google Inc., 3.83 percent, according to WebSideStory Inc.

A reason for the higher conversion rates was in the demographics of the search engines, Ali Behnam, senior digital marketing consultant for WebSideStory, said.

“With portals rich in content and services, AOL, MSN and Yahoo may tend to appeal toward a more buyer friendly demographic," Behnam said. "Google, meanwhile, may appeal to more browsers -- those with less of an intent to buy.”

Google is less focused on entertainment than its three rivals, and more focused on search.

Nevertheless, all the major search engines scored well above the average for all online search engines, which was 1.97 percent, WebSideStory said. That average was less than the 2.3 percent for the last three months of 2005.