The top three paid positions on Google attract more visual attention than the top three links on Bing, according to a new report from research firm User Centric.
Study outcomes showed a comparable number of participants viewing top sponsored links (~90 percent) across both search engines. However, these participants spent 22 percent more time looking at Google’s top sponsored links than Bing’s. For right sponsored links, Bing and Google didn’t significantly differ in the amount of attention.
Comparing sponsored links on top to those on the right in general, the study found the "eye hit rate" on the top to be at least three times higher and gaze time to be at least five times longer than on the sponsored links on the right.
Before making the first click, participants spent 27 percent more time looking at organic search results on Google than on Bing.
"While more gaze time is good for sponsored results, the opposite is true for organic results," said Aga Bojko, User Centric’s Chief Scientist.
"Taking longer to make a decision and scanning more results may suggest lower perceived search results relevancy on Google. According to past research, users tend to scan search results until they find the first suitable link to click, so more time spent on Google could mean it took longer to find a link worth clicking."