E-commerce sites are the most ardent disciples of search engine marketing in the US, new figures reveal.

According to comScore, the ten most prolific users of search engine marketing campaigns, such as sponsored links or pay-per-click advertising, are all from the online retail sector.

In March, almost 20 billion sponsored link exposures were recorded in the US. Internet auction site eBay claimed the most exposures with 4.1 per cent of the total, while Smarter.com, Shopping.com, Bizrate.com and Amazon.com made up the top five.

James Lamberti, senior vice president of comScore Search Solutions, said the figures show that retail e-commerce sites are the most aggressive in their use of sponsored search.

"Given that retail e-commerce is now a $100 billion (£50 billion)-a-year industry, it’s not surprising that top online retailers are willing to bid for premium placement at the major search engines," he added.

The figures follow figures JupiterResearch’s finding that 86 per cent of search marketer performance evaluations are now based on campaign metrics.

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