Eye Opening Study: Organic Search vs Paid Search Results

Organic search results are viewed over 16 times longer than PPC ads, eye-tracking study reveals

New research has shown that search engine users almost completely bypass search ads.

A tightly focused study by research firm User Centric of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 54 found that while participants had perfect vision with organic searches, they experienced a blind spot when it came to right-hand search ads.

The eye opening study overwhelmingly displayed the continued importance and influence of organic search results when compared with paid search.

Eye tracking studies are a popular research tool and allowed User Centric to look at leading Search Engines Google and Bing through the eyes of their users. In this particular survey, software was used to measure the percentage of participants who looked at each of the areas of interest (ie hit rate) and the time spent looking at these areas (ie gaze time). Five key areas in eye tracking study of the search results interface were:

  • organic search result
  • sponsored results to the right of the organic search results
  • sponsored results at the top
  • left pane and
  • on-hover flyouts (on Bing only).

The study found that fully 100% of people looked at the organic search results on both Google and Bing Search Engines. It was also noted that in comparison, the right-hand search ads were virtually overlooked altogether with only 28% and 21% of participants glancing at these paid search ads on Google and on Bing respectively.

In addition, participants not only focused on organic search results more often versus paid search results, the research also found that partakers in the survey spent a far longer time viewing results of organic search versus paid search.

The participants in the study spent an average time of 14.7 and 10.7 seconds studying Google and Bing’s organic search results respectively. This was compared to an average of only 0.9 seconds and 0.7 seconds for length of time participants spent looking at the top sponsored results above the organic searches on those search engines – up to 16 times longer for the organic listings!

You can read more about the eye tracking study on User Centric’s website.

With the User Centric study revealing 100% of participants are looking at organic search results; can you afford not to invest in Search Engine Optimisation to improve your sales leads and conversion rates? Contact us for more information about organic search and how we can increase your online return on investment.

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