Users are able to distinguish web advertisements from other types of links and this could help pay per click services formulate other keyword-based marketing strategies, a new report states.

Research conducted by Penn State and the Queensland University of Technology analysed over seven million cases to discover if there were any patterns in click-throughs on non-sponsored and sponsored links.

Jim Jansen, assistant professor of information science and technology at the college and one of the team undertaking the project, said they specifically investigated behaviour when both types of ads were presented on the same page.

Although he expected a high click-through rate for the sponsored ads, Mr Jansen discovered this rate was just 15 per cent.

Moreover, 35 per cent of queries resulted in no clicks from users.

"The result seems to show that web searchers are smart," he explained.

More studies into ad mechanisms and effective marketing should follow the results of the research, Mr Jansen concluded, suggesting that the open "the door to other forms of keyword advertising".

The news follows a recent tip from Microsoft adCenter, which advised pay per click services managers to set themselves apart from competitors by including any discounts or offer information in ad text.

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