People who use Google spend more time looking at the top three paid ads above the organic results than Bing users, according to the results of a new eye-tracking study from research firm User Centric.
Participants in the study spent 22 percent more time viewing Google’s Ads (2.8 seconds) as opposed to Bing’s Sponsored Sites (1.9 seconds). Roughly 90 percent of participants viewed the paid ads on both search engines. User Centric believes having two lines of descriptive text (vs. one on Bing) plus the Google Checkout button were contributing factors to the higher number for Google here.
User Centric also compared the paid ads on top to those on the right, and found the top ads were viewed three times more often, and users looked at the top ads five times longer than ads on the right. Little difference was found in views of the ads in the right column on Google versus Bing.
On the organic side, User Centric said that participants spent 27 percent more time on Google (14.7 seconds) than Bing (10.7 seconds) scanning the organic search results before clicking, perhaps suggesting lower perceived relevancy.
Bing’s left pane was viewed longer than Google’s (2.9 versus 1.2 seconds). The study also found that only 25 percent of participants used Bing’s Quick Previews (called “flyouts” in their study) and that 67 percent had never seen one prior to the study.
For the study, 24 people between the ages of 18 and 54 conducted an average of 48 searchers per week on both search engines, and at least five searches per engine. Eye tracking was recorded with the Tobii T60 eye tracker integrated in a 17-inch monitor.
Participants were asked to conduct eight searches: four using Google (without Google Instant) and four using Bing. Two of the searches were informational — [healthy food], [landscaping] — and two were transactional — [engagement ring] and [last minute vacations].