User Centric has released the results of an eye tracking study that compares data between Google and the new Microsoft search engine Bing. What is interesting to note is that sponsored links are attracting more attention than they are on Google. Google users appear to be more aware of the sponsored links.
User Centric used eye tracking technology to capture 21 participants’ eye movements as they completed two informational and two transactional search tasks, each in Google.com and Bing.com.
The two search phrases that were used during this eye tracking study:
Learn about eating healthy
Book a last minute vacation
User Centric used eye tracking technology to capture 21 participants’ eye movements as they completed two informational (e.g., “Learn about eating healthy”) and two transactional (e.g., “Book a last minute vacation”) search tasks in each engine.
According to User Centric, “Preliminary findings revealed comparable amount of visual attention on organic search results and top sponsored links across both search engines. Sponsored links on the right, however, attracted more attention on Bing than they did on Google. On average, across all four tasks, 42% of participants looked at Bing’s sponsored links on the right; by contrast, only 25% of participants looked at Google’s right rail links.”
When it came to the amount of attention paid to the organic search results, Bing and Google did not differ: users spent an average of seven seconds looking at the organic search results. They were both about the same amount of time spent.
During a search, 90 percent of users tested looked at the “sponsored links”. User Centric also reports that during “transactional searches” (searches that involved someone buying something or searches related to completing a transaction), “participants would spend more time looking at the sponsored results on top (~2.5 seconds) than they did on informational searches (~1.5 seconds).” But, on the Bing.com search engine, participants of the study spent more time looking at the paid links (sponsored links). About 42 percent paid more attention to the sponsored results on Bing. About 25 percent on Google.
More details of the study are here on the User Centric site.