Google recently commissioned search engine market research firm Enquiro to carry out an online survey & eye tracking study to test the effect brand placements in search results have on brand affinity in the minds of consumers. The study carried out on 2,722 subjects aged 25+ found that placement in the top Sponsored and Organic results can drive up brand affinity by as much as 16 percent.
The study compared brand associations developed when an unbranded query delivered different search results pages (SERPs) as follows:
- The brand name does not appear on the SERP
- The brand name appears only in the side ad listing
- The brand name appears only in the top organic listing
- The brand name appears only in the top ad listing
- The brand name appears in the top ad and top organic listing.
The study also compared how brand affinity changed when a branded query delivered different SERPs with the brand name appearing:
- Only in the top organic listing
- In the top ad & top organic listing
Lastly, an eye tracking study was carried out on 100 subjects in a lab environment.
The results of all these experiments showed that there is a 16 percent increase in brand association and an 8 percent increase in purchase consideration when the brand is displayed in the top ad & top organic listing.
Conversely, consumers are found to be 16 percent less likely to consider purchasing a brand that does not appear on the search results page.
Even for branded queries, presence in the search results has a definite influence. There is a 7 percent increase in purchase intent for brands that advertise on keywords containing the brand name. Visitors with established brand affinity were found to spend 25% less time on the top ad and jump to the organic listing 73% faster than those without a prior affinity.
The eye tracking study showed that brand fixation occurs in the URL & title of listing, implying that placement of keywords in the title, URL and close to the start of the description Meta Tag will probably bear more weight in the Google algorithm.