- May 28, 2008

Click-Through Rates for Universal Search

In previous posts, I looked at the emergence of universal search as well as the types of universal search results. Now let’s take a look at how consumers interact with the universal search results page and how they click.

The data tell an interesting story, showing that clicks generally decline on pages with universal search results. Not a surprising result. Most often the intention of a universal search result page is to deliver the desired information directly without requiring an additional click. For instance, if you are looking for a map and directions and they are automatically presented, there is no need to click. If the real-time stock quote is listed for you, there is no need to click.The “Click Performance Index” in this chart indicates the likelihood of a click-through occurring on a page as compared to the average click-through rate on Google. For example, an index of 101 for “No Universal” below indicates that a searcher is 1 percent more likely than average to click on any search result if there are no universal results present on the search results page.

In looking at the chart above, we see that click-through rates are generally lower on pages with universal search results, especially Maps/Stocks/Weather. From my perspective, the most interesting aspect of this data is the relationship between paid click rates and overall click rates in the video and image areas. Image and video results will often have commercial value (i.e. an image of the new iPhone), but the video or image presence on the result page will sometimes discourage clicks away from Google. This is great quandary for the search industry. The best consumer experience often presents the answer right on the result page – no click required! As I mentioned in my last post, get your images, videos, and local store information integrated into maps for easy discovery by the engines. While it might not yield clicks, it will get you “exposure” with the same effect.

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