Over one-third of Internet users do not realise the ads displayed within Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) are PPC advertising according to new research.

The study, published on e-Consultancy and conducted by UX firm Bunnyfoot, shows only a minor fall in befuddled browsers since last year: At that point 41% of Google users had no idea of the difference between the organic and paid links.

This is in spite of a number of changes Google has made to identify ads with a small yellow box with ad in white next to all the paid adverts. It is worth noting more than a quarter did not even realise Google featured advertising at all, something the yellow box idea was supposed to show in a very clear fashion.

The original study found 81% of users were clicking on PPC ads not the organic results. In a test of 100 individuals, 41  assumed the links were the most authoritative and hence ranking best.

Bunnyfoot CEO and co-founder, Jon Dodd, said: “As our hundreds of user tests over the last decade have shown, it is very difficult to predict what customers’ knowledge or understanding is. When you do the tests, you are often humbled and surprised with how far off your assumptions are.”

The research was conducted in London with 103 participants across a broad range of demographics and Internet use capabilities.

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About the author:

Martin Boonham is an online copywriter for ClickThrough Marketing, he has worked there since October 2012. He has a Masters in Print Journalism from Nottingham Trent University, where he also gained his NCTJ qualification at the same time; achieving qualifications in subbing, shorthand and media law.