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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Checkout Icon Makes Ads 10% More Clickable, Google Says

An ad with a Checkout badge to the right, with non-Checkout ads below it.

Correction: As clarified in a follow up post, what Google said was that the Checkout icon makes the ads 10% more clickable to Checkout Users, a potentially important distinction. [Thanks Ben!]

Cross-integrating their products can help Google bring customers from their more successful products to their less successful ones. Google Checkout is a payment service, and when you use it and buy an AdWords ad, you’ll not only get the Checkout sale processed for free – you’ll also get extra visibility in Google search results due to a Checkout shopping cart icon. But how much does this add in clicks, anyway? According to Google’s Checkout page: “users click on ads 10% more when the ad displays the Checkout badge”.*

Furthermore, Google quotes one advertiser, Fred Lerner of Ritz Interactive, saying the Checkout icon has given them “a 23 percent lift in clickthrough rate.”

Good for Google, perhaps less good for competition like EBay-owned PayPal.

Different Google Checkout icons used over time (is the middle one still currently used? Above image is older, and I’ve not spotted one for a while)

*I’m not sure how Google came up with these stats, e.g. whether they directly compared the same ad with and without an icon, or if they compared ads using Checkout to those not using Checkout (potentially problematic as sellers using Checkout may not be a strictly average sample). The click rate itself does also not exactly tell why users click more: is it indeed visibility, or is it extra trust emitted because users may consider it “Google-approved” due to the icon, or because users know and like Checkout, or a mixture of factors, etc.

[Thanks Tony for the screenshot!]


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