Case Study: Better Together – YSM Staff

Yahoo! helps LendingTree test the benefits of combining paid and organic search

Who: LendingTree, LLC, an online lending exchange that connects consumers with multiple lenders who compete for their business.

Objective: Yahoo! and LendingTree wanted to quantify how using sponsored search ads and paid inclusion listings together increases traffic.

Products Used: Sponsored Search and Search Submit Pro

Results: During the study, combining the two products drove a 61% lift in online visitation.

The Challenge

LendingTree assumed that adding Search Submit Pro, which lets businesses create natural search listings, to its Sponsored Search campaigns would drive extra traffic, but it was just that: an assumption. But now they wanted to better quantify the assumed benefit of a combined Sponsored Search and Search Submit Pro campaign. Yahoo! commissioned comScore, a research firm that analyzes consumer Internet behavior, to conduct a study that would find out how much Search Submit Pro helps increase traffic, consumer engagement and conversions.

“We had an assumption of the benefits of using Search Submit Pro and Sponsored Search on the same page but we didn’t have a way to value the impact,” says Robert Pettee, Director of Search Marketing at the Online Lending Exchange.


In the span of three months, Search Submit Pro listings were turned on or off every Thursday, while Sponsored Search ads were always active on the first page of results during the campaign period. Test panelists were placed in two groups: one group was exposed to LendingTree Sponsored Search ads only; the other group was exposed to a combination of LendingTree Sponsored Search and Search Submit Pro listings.


They found that the two products were greater than the sum of their parts—in other words, combining Sponsored Search and Search Submit Pro on the same page can potentially build more traffic than using each product separately.

  • Yahoo! Search Submit Pro advertising drove a 61% net lift in online visitation among exposed searches.
  • Exposure to Search Submit Pro listings drove a 135% lift in natural listings clicks and a 21% net lift in sponsored ad clicks.

Branching Out

LendingTree is now looking at landing page options that can take greater advantage of the increased traffic garnered by Search Submit Pro participation.

“We now have a better understanding of the whole picture and are now less apt to change our paid search budget,” says Pettee.

— Roger Park, Manager, Marketing Communications