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Social Media Eye Tracking Study

Posted on 7.12.2009

A new eye tracking study conducted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by digital marketing provider Oneupweb reveals some interesting trends, including the way users interact with paid ads in social media.

“We wanted to know if people actually look at ads when they are on social sites like Facebook, YouTube. Or in the case of Twitter, where will they likely look for those ads when they do begin to appear,” explains Oneupweb CEO and Founder Lisa Wehr. “We found that not only do users spend time viewing paid ads on social networking sites, they often look at these ads before actual search results.”

The social media eye tracking study revealed some other interesting statistics about searches conducted on social media sites:

- The study found that 65% of participants engaged with sponsored ads within the first 10 seconds of their search.
- Scan paths do not follow the order of the search result positions. Often, sponsored ads were looked at before the third or fourth result.
- There is not a significant difference in fixation duration across the first four results or sponsored ads on both Facebook and YouTube.
- 50% of participants were satisfied with their brand search on Twitter. Many liked that they could find the most current opinions about a product.

“Since search engines became the main way that people conduct searches for businesses, products and information, we’ve been under an assumption that people search a certain way. On search engines, a viewer’s eye starts at the top left hand side of the page, moving downward and slightly to the right,” explains Wehr. “Therefore, they are likely to click on just the first few search results that appear at the top of the page. But this just isn’t the case on social networking sites.” Wehr goes on to explain that search is changing and people are entering social networking sites with different expectations.
“As more people engage with social media, the way they are interacting with brands is being affected and their behavior changes.”

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