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Can Consumers Tell the Difference Between Paid and Organic Search Results?

20 May Can Consumers Tell the Difference Between Paid and Organic Search Results?

The answer might surprise you– or it might not, depending on how much faith you have in consumers.

The truth is that, according to a recent study conducted by Ofcom, about half of adults are unable to identify the paid ads in Google’s search results. This is in spite of the fact that PPC ads on Google’s SERPs have a yellow “Ad” icon beside them.

Paid and Organic Results Force Marketing

In the survey, 1,328 respondents were asked to look at an image of paid ads on a Google SERP and select from the following answers (and they could choose more than one):

  1. These are adverts/sponsored links/paid to appear here.
  2. These are the best/most relevant results.
  3. These are the most popular results used by other people.
  4. Don’t know.

What were the results?

Sixty percent correctly identified the ads as ads, but only 49 percent selected only that answer (meaning, the leftover 11 percent said that they were ads, but also said they were the best results or the most popular results, which is incorrect). Nearly half of the respondents had the wrong idea about paid ads.

What does this mean for dealers?

Well, it basically means that paid search works. People do click on ads, although it may occasionally be because they don’t fully understand what they are. This is why it’s so important that dealers have a solid PPC strategy alongside a solid SEO strategy. That way, you’re properly represented both in the paid and organic results, and can capture clicks from savvy searchers and less-savvy searchers alike.

Want to learn more about how automotive PPC and automotive SEO go hand in hand for a strong overall digital marketing strategy? Contact the Force Marketing digital team today! You can also check out the complete results of the survey in Ofcom’s Adults’ media use and attitudes Report 2016.

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