If you ever need proof of the importance of top exposure in the Google search results, then a recent eye-tracking study may have you convinced.
According to User Centric, Google users spend more time looking at the top three paid ads above the organic results than Bing users. While the good news is that the study found that 90% of participants viewed the paid ads on both search engines. The not so good news for Bing is that participants spent 22% more time viewing Google’s Ads (2.8 seconds) as opposed to Bing’s Sponsored Sites (1.9 seconds). User Centric believes the reason for this difference is because Google includes 2 lines of descriptive text (Bing only has one) and also the addition of the Google Checkout button.
The heat map below gives an overview of the areas that users concentrate on when viewing a search results page. Google is on the left and Bing on the right.
When you compare the viewing of paid ads at the top of the page to those on the right, the results are quite significant. The study found the “eye hit rate” on the top to be at least three times higher and gaze time to be at least five times longer than on the sponsored links on the right.
User Centric’s Aga Bojko suggests advertisers take the following from the study:
When deciding between Bing and Google, advertisers should keep in mind that, ad placement among the top sponsored results on Google attracted 22% more attention than an equivalent placement on Bing.
As Google and Bing evolve, the amount of visual attention on their interfaces will ultimately shift as well.