Searcher Perceptions & Paid Links
Back in the summer, Yahoo sponsored a Workshop on Sponsored Search Auctions; June 5, 2005, Vancouver, BC, Canada, in conjunction with the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC'05)
This was a research-driven workshop, which included heuristics and algorithms applied to SEM. In one of the presentations,
Examining Searcher Perceptions of and Interactions with Sponsored Results, Jensen and Resnick mention
"We investigated the perceptions of sponsored links and the factors that influence this bias..."
"Findings include that there is a strong preference for organic links, a bias against sponsored results, and that more than 56% of the time, the title of the sponsored link was the determining factor in searcher perceived relevance. We discuss implications for sponsored links and paid search as a long-term business model."
The authors investigate what makes searcher be biased against paid links and to favor organic results. The research questions and experimental employed is worth a reading. Here are some they tried to address:
Research Question 01: When using a Web search engine, do searchers have a bias against sponsored results?
Research Question 02: What factors influence searchersí bias against sponsored links?
Research Question 03: What factors influence searchersí bias for organic links?
Other presentations from the workshop:
Pay-Per-Percentage of Impressions: An Advertising Method that is Highly Robust to Fraud
Optimize-and-Dispatch Architecture for Expressive Ad Auctions
Strategic Bidder Behavior in Sponsored Search Auctions
Online Advertisers' Bidding Strategies for Search, Experience, and Credence Goods: An Empirical Investigation
Designing Share Structure in Auctions of Divisible Goods
All are great topics. The complete workshop program is available here
Another presentation from the program that attracted my attention was
A Formal Analysis of Search Auctions Including Predictions on Click Fraud and Bidding Tactics
because it shows the math behind the systems and how one can assess their dynamics. Theorem 5 and 6 of this paper are enlightening:
Theorem 5: Global Optimum is Same as Local Optimum when Objectives are Unconstrained.
Theorem 6: Global Optimum may be different from Local when Objective is Conversions subject to CPA.
Being someone trained in sequential simplex optimization, I think simplex optimization could be used to differentiate between global and local optimums.
Either way, if interested feel free comment on any of these papers.
Last edited by orion : 12-20-2005 at 01:28 AM.
Why does everyone forget
As you touched on.. "was the determining factor in searcher perceived relevance."
Searchers want relevance.
They don't give a damn about popularity or how many times someone else clicked, or paid for your click. Why does everyone forget that content is king?
The search engine are chasing the dollar instead of providing good heuristics and algorithms on the content.
When they get this clue, we will stop bouncing back and forth to other engines to find what we want.
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