Consumer Click Behavior at a Search Engine: The Role of Keyword Popularity

34 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2012 Last revised: 12 Mar 2013

Kinshuk Jerath

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Liye Ma

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Young-Hoon Park

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Date Written: March 11, 2013

Abstract

The authors study users’ click behavior on organic and sponsored links after a keyword search at a search engine. Using a dataset obtained from a search engine, they analyze over 1.5 million user searches for multiple keywords over the span of one month. They find that consumers’ click activity after a keyword search is quite low and is heavily concentrated on the organic list. Interestingly, however, there is significant variation in click behavior across keywords, driven by the fact that the composition of consumers searching different keywords is different. Specifically, keyword popularity, as determined by search volumes for the keywords, is an important indicator of searchers’ click tendencies — as keyword popularity decreases, keywords are searched by consumers who generate more clicks per search and click more sponsored links. This indicates that, as compared to more popular keywords, less popular keywords are searched by consumers who expend more effort in their search for information and are closer to a purchase, which makes them more targetable for sponsored search advertising.

Keywords: Sponsored search advertising, organic search listings, consumer click behavior, keyword popularity

Suggested Citation

Jerath, Kinshuk and Ma, Liye and Park, Young-Hoon, Consumer Click Behavior at a Search Engine: The Role of Keyword Popularity (March 11, 2013). Johnson School Research Paper Series No. 24-2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2159858 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2159858

Kinshuk Jerath (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Liye Ma

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Young-Hoon Park

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853-6201
United States
(607) 255-3217 (Phone)

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