How does the behavior of Google search users differ on mobile devices vs. desktop computers? Are people more likely to focus on certain elements of search engine results pages (SERPs) when using smaller screens?
To find out, Mediative conducted an eye-tracking study in 2015 with 49 people of various ages. Participants were given 41 search tasks to complete using the Google search engine on an iPhone 5.
The researchers tracked where users looked, how long it took them to look, when they clicked, and how long it took them to click. Both organic and paid listings were examined.
Google search users on smartphones tend to scan vertically, with focus starting at the top of the screen and quickly moving down rather than horizontal, the researchers found. That behavior is especially pronounced when SERPs include both paid and organic listings.