45% doesn't know the difference between paid and organic

Tue 29 September 2009 14:58, Bas van den Beld

45% doesn't know the difference between paid and organic

45% of those who use Google cannot see the difference between what is a paid and what is an organic result. 1500 respondents were questioned about these and other topics concerning search marketing in a research performed by dutch company First Focus and ValueWait.

The research also shows Google is trustworthy for most respondents and is used as a reviewtool for those planning on buying online. Paid results however need a lot more work to get people clicking.

Figure above:respondents seeing the difference between organic an paid. No (45%): darker yellow (above); Yes (54%) lighter yellow (below)

Some of the results from the research are very interesting. As said the difference between a paid and an organic result is hard to see for many. 72% of the respondents mostly click on the organic results, while only 3% clicks on the paid. When asked about the ads on top of the Google results most (65%) figured out those were ads, but there is still 23% who hasn't got a clue what those results are.

Figure above: respondents asked what the yellow ads on top are. Red is "paid ads" (65%); blue is "don't know" (23%).

Not surprisingly Google is the most used search engine among the respondents. 63,8% said they only use Google. The rest of the respondents use Google combined with other search engines, mostly local. Microsoft is the second most popular provider of search next to Google. 5% says it uses Google in combination with Bing, while another 5% says it uses Google in combination with Live Search. Google's popularity can also be seen in the settings. 54% has Google set as their default homepage.

Google is trustworthy according to the users. Almost 80% answered "yes" on the question if they believed the Google results were trustworthy. Only 3% disagreed. 31% feels Google is also the best source for finding reviews when planning on purchasing products online. 25% said it uses Google as orientation.

Figure above:Respondents believe Google results are trustworthy. Red is "yes" (79%); Blue is "neutral" (16%); Yellow is "disagree" (3%).

The paid results are for most respondents not relevant enough, 35% doesn't click on them. 31% clicks when the results are relevant. 

The respondents were also asked about their favorite webshops. Bol.com is by far the most popular (named by 45%) followed by Marktplaats (22%). When asked what they feel most comfortable in using as a payment-method most responded Ideal. The creditcard is only favorite for 8% of the respondents.

The respondents are part of a panel of 5000 which can earn points by answering research questions using their mobile phones. If you want a copy of the researchpaper you can subscribe for it at First Focus. Beware, the researchpaper is in Dutch :).

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