Study Demonstrates Impact of Google Checkout, Visibility of Search Engine Click-Through Rates
SendTec Teams with Eyetools, Examines Consumer Response to Google Checkout
St. Petersburg, Fla.—Dec 13, 2007— With the Cyber Monday collapse of Yahoo’s checkout platform, the checkout features offered by both Google and Yahoo are receiving tremendous scrutiny from advertisers and consumers. With this recent disastrous event, advertisers need clear documentation of what the potential benefits are from opting into a Search Engine’s checkout feature. A recent study from SendTec, Inc. (OTCBB: SNDN), a Search-Centricsm multi-channel marketing company, and Eyetools Inc., the leader in eyetracking analysis software, investigated the impact of the redesigned Google Checkout icon on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s).
The eyetracking data was collected from 100 participants and the click-through and conversion data was based on a case study involving data from a Google Checkout merchant. Although this study found that the enhanced button, featuring brighter colors after a February 2007 update, did not increase significantly the visibility of Google Checkout merchants’ ads, a SendTec case study does in fact show increased click-through rates for these ads. Further, the study showed a high positive correlation between how frequently Internet users’ eyes are drawn to elements on a search results page and clickthrough rates.
uBid.com, a SendTec client, noticed a 27 percent increase in conversion rates after the launch of the new Google Checkout icon, accompanied by a 5 percent decrease in cost-per-click. The Eyetools study concluded that although the presence of the icon did not increase the overall number of users who viewed an Adwords listing, the button’s presence does impact click behavior. This impact may be due to factors other than increased viewing such as Google brand recognition or user confidence in the Google Checkout service.
This study also showed that if a search listing is more likely to be seen, it is also more likely to be clicked on by users. The correlation between viewing and clicking fits an exponential curve, meaning that the drop off in clicking parallels the drop-off in viewing and vice-versa. With a very strong correlation of 0.95 according to the research, it is clear that any vehicle that increases an ad’s visibility will help advertisers achieve their marketing goals in the search channel. The SendTec-Eyetools results show that not only does being in highly viewed listing areas greatly increase the likelihood of being clicked, but also that an icon on AdWords can greatly improve click-through for sites in lesser viewed areas.
“Given the competitiveness of the search engine environment, it is increasingly important to understand the many driving factors that prompt a consumer to click on a certain ad and follow through on a call to action,” said SendTec president, Eric Obeck. “Given the text only advertising that appears in a Google results page, the appearance of a graphic such as the Google Checkout icon begs for this kind of analysis. I am not sure if Google considered this when they launched the Checkout icon or what it means to businesses, but certainly the appearance of any sort of visual next to an advertiser’s text listing is something that SEM’s and advertisers should be considering.”
Eyetools’ eyetracking heatmap visualizations are the industry standard for presenting eye tracking data. “The study’s results show that, all things considered, eyetracking is a very good predictor of where people will or will not click,” said Greg Edwards, CEO & Founder, Eyetools Inc. “The first step to optimizing designs and copy is to establish a baseline, so we are excited to partner with companies such as SendTec who see the value of understanding how people interact with new design elements to analyze the effects of any search engine nuances on consumer behavior.”
In 2006, Google introduced Google Checkout as a tool to allow shoppers to make purchases online without having to reenter their personal information every time they opted to pay at a new site. One of the primary selling points of this service was the inclusion of the Google Checkout icon in AdWords listings for participating advertisers.
To review the full results of the study, please visit http://study.sendtec.com.
About SendTec, Inc:
SendTec is a leading customer acquisition ad agency with expertise in multi-channel integrated direct marketing, online and offline. The company builds and leverages technology as an integral part of growing its clients’ businesses. Search engine marketing, direct response television and lead generation are the company’s unique specialties. SendTec is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, with an office in New York City and account representatives serving its clients across the U.S. For more information, go to www.sendtec.com
Eyetools, Inc., the inventors of eyetracking heatmapping, provides benchmarking and optimization services for websites, landing pages, emails and new prototypes using objective eyetracking data, expertise and methodologies. Reported clients conversion rate increases range from 42% - 2000% increases in clicking. Check out our blog at http://blog.eyetools.com