Google have undertaken an eye-tracking study of 34 users which shows that the majority of people find what they are looking for using the top two results on the first page.
The study was carried out to help with their Universal search model, but interestingly the sponsored listings only showed to the right of the search results, and their own eye tracking showed minimal user interaction.
As an agency that performs PPC campaigns for a number of clients we’d be real interested to see a full eye tracking study showing the impact of sponsored listings in different positions. Of course we understand that relevancy will impact the results, and our analytical data tells us something about the CTR of different positions, but all the same it would be good to see something from Google.
However it does reinforce the view held by many that you need to be at the top of the search results to grab users attention.
Should help increase bid rates for Google, or am I being cynical? To see the study yourself…. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/eye-tracking-studies-more-than-meets.html
For more information on eye tracking there was a good report on landing page effectiveness published by marketing sherpa and we’ve partnered with User Vision on a number of occasions to perform eye tracking as a part of larger web usablity projects for our clients.