With being a part of the online marketing world, we often take it for granted that searchers know the difference between an organic search result and an ad. How exactly though does the everyday searcher see the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)? And how do they use search engines?

Below are the most interesting results taken from the studyConsumer Ad Awareness in Search Results” conducted in the states by seobook.com:

  • When a right hand column is not present on a SERP, searchers are generally unaware of the difference between the ads above the organic results, and the organic results.
  • As soon as a right hand column is present, the amount of searchers who then stated that there were ads on the SERP increased significantly from when there was only one column.
  • Searchers are often confused and may think that a map in the search results is an ad. This was dependant though on how zoomed in/out the SERP was.
  • Almost half of searchers do not know what background colour is used to denote ads in the left hand column.
  • Nearly 20% of searchers think that there are NO ads in the search results at all.
  • A little more than 34% of searchers said that when there are ads on a search results page, they appear in the right hand column
  • Only 9.2% of searchers said that ads appeared at the top of the left column.
  • 45.8% of searchers stated that they trust algorithmic organic results and ads equally, with 40.9% trusting organic results more than paid ads, and 13.3% of users trusting ads more than organic results in the search results.
  • Even after searchers were shown a search result with 3 ads in it, most were uncertain of where the ads appeared, what colour the background of the ads was, and they were even uncertain as to whether there were any ads at all on that SERP.
  • With respect to seeking advice, users are more likely to trust friends and family, rather than websites and search engines.
  • In choosing a search engine, 30.4% of users would choose the one they deemed would offer the most relevant results, and 26.8%of users simply used the default search engine selected on their computer.
  • Most people do not use more than 2 search engines in any month.
  • If a user conducts a search and they do not find what they are looking for, they are most likely to search again with a different word, rather than click to the second page of the search results.

Even though some of the findings seem logical to an online marketer, it is valuable to see such results in a study. As a Digital Advertising and SEO Agency, 4Ps Marketing utilises numerous reports and findings such as this one to educate our clients as to how their target customers behave online.

4Ps isn’t just another PPC management agency. To discuss how paid search strategies are evolving alongside new developments in ad technology and tracking, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels. What could a performance marketing agency like us do for your brand?