AOL search users are more likely to click on ads than any other major search engine. According to research released earlier this week by Chitika, a search-based online ad network, search engines with the top click-through rates were AOL (2.50 percent), Ask (1.76 percent) and Bing (1.74 percent). Yahoo (1.37 percent) and Google (0.98 percent) trailed the top five list.
The study, which was based on a sample of over 134.7 million impressions on Chitika’s network, serves as a follow-up to the company’s July 2009 study that sought to determine how CTR on Microsoft’s then newly launched Bing compared to that of existing search engines. In July, Bing topped both Yahoo (1.24 percent) and Google (0.97 percent) with a 1.50 percent CTR.
“My theory was that people coming to Bing back in July were more ad susceptible because they acted on an ad to try out Bing,” said Daniel Ruby, research director of Online Insights at Chitika, who was surprised to see Bing maintain its position. “The fact that Bing is holding onto these people shows that they may not be capturing a huge portion of search traffic, but they’re capturing a very valuable portion of search traffic and are managing to hold onto them.”
While Google’s CTR performance appears low, the study does call to attention that Google still dominates overall search traffic with over 113.3 million impressions (84.13 percent). Yahoo (7.40 percent) and Bing (5.75 percent) follow, with 10.0 million and 7.7 million impressions respectively. Ask and AOL both hold less than 1.5 percent of search traffic at under 2.0 million clicks each.
“A lot of the theories that have been arising from this are that the less technically proficient an Internet user is the more likely they are to click on an ad,” said Ruby. “It’s a possible takeaway since you can kind of assume that people using AOL are stuck in 1997 and haven’t changed their browsing habits in over a decade.”