The number of clicks on paid search listings is decreasing, according to new figures from Hitwise.

A report from the firm shows that during the four-week period ending on May 9th, paid search traffic accounted for just 7.25 per cent of all search engine visits – a 26 per cent decline from the same period in 2008.

The study showed that the number of web users who are using search engines is not decreasing, which may suggest that there is an increasing number of people who are clicking on organic search results.

Heather Hopkins, senior online analyst at Hitwise, said: “Referrals from search engines continue to climb but the proportion of clicks going to sponsored or paid listings is decreasing.”

She added that this is the result of “cutbacks in marketing spend due to the recession”.

According to fraud detection firm Click Forensics, in the fourth quarter of 2008, 17 per cent of all online click ads were fraudulent.
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