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More Than Half of Searchers Don’t Recognize Paid Ads in Google SERPS

A recently conducted survey reports that almost 55% of searchers don’t know which links in the search engine results page are Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. Can you find The Google Ad Words PPC ads in Google’s results in the screen shot below?

I will say that I immediately noticed the tire shops in the snack-pack (the 3 local listings with their star ratings) and hardly noticed the Fletcher’s Tire ad at the top.

Paid Ads example

Search Engine Watch shared the results from the survey in greater detail and we were shocked. Only 8.4% of people are actually clicking on the paid ads.

Paid Ads example
Image Credit: Search Engine Watch

We couldn’t help but think that it’s not the users fault for not noticing ads, but rather that Google is making it harder to recognize when it is indeed a paid ad. Check out this visual from Ginny Marvin on SEL that shows you how much that ads are really blending in with organic search results:

Paid Ads example
Image Credit: Search Engine Land

In this study, they also found that 72.6% of individuals found the ads to be a nuisance. However, 19.1% said they don’t mind them…..

Paid Ads example
Image Credit: Search Engine Watch

What can we gather from this information?

  1. Users are truly having a harder time deciphering what is a paid ad vs. an organic result
  2. Most users don’t click on them nor like them showing up in results
  3. We don’t know how many participants were in the trial, so we need to take this information with a grain of salt
  4. We can focus more of our efforts on organic search engine results & only rely on Google paid ads when we really need it

For more information about Google Ad Words, give us a call! We’re happy to help answer any questions.