Click-Through Rates Lower Than Expected?


A study by Penn State University reports a lower click-through rate across major search sites than formerly assumed, reports Search Engine Land.

Jim Jansen of Penn State and Amanda Spink from Queensland University of Technology studied the rate of ad click-throughs on Dogpile.com, a meta-search engine that combines the search results from larger search engines such as Yahoo!, Google, Ask, and MSN.

The study collected data from hundreds of thousand of users, focusing on the effect on consumer behavior from sponsored and non-sponsored ads presented together.

Expecting that, in a list of sponsored versus non-sponsored listings, that sponsored ads would have a higher click-through on the sponsored ads, Jansen discovered that the actual click-through rate turned out to be 15%.

For more than 35% of searches, there were no clicks on any result, the study found.

Dogpile may not be representative of web search engine users in general, but the research can help advertisers target their campaigns, noting that web searchers are smart and have a good idea how to distinguish sponsored links from others.

The Penn State study also questions the validity of previously assumed estimates of ad click-through rates of 30%.

An analysis from Epsilon last month indicated Q308 click rates rose 27.6% from Q208, while click fraud rates hit 17.1% in 4Q08, versus 16.6% in the same period in 2007.