The report was based on an eye-tracking study conducted using the Sticky platform. As part of the study, 100 consumers were shown desktop Google search engine results pages (SERPs) for three hotel names (Capitol Hill Hotel, Park Lane Hotel, and The New Yorker Hotel). Participants' eye-movements were tracked as they looked at each SERP for 15 seconds.
In past studies, consumers tended to look at desktop SERPs in an F pattern: starting at the top with paid ads, then moving down to organic results, then across to the ads in the right column.
The rollout of new right column units by Google that display a hotel's business listing and metasearch price results has changed this behavior, the analysis found.
Consumers now focus intently on the top of the page at the paid ads and hotel business listing. Organic results receive significantly less attention.
The researchers found that when looking at hotel SERPs, consumers tend to look at the paid ads at the top first, the business listing second, and then either the organic results or metasearch prices.
Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.
LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji