Click Behavior in Search Engine Marketing
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This dissertation consists of two essays, both seeking to advance our understanding of consumer click behavior on search engine results pages. The first essay aims at resolving a critical controversy about the interaction between paid and organic search results, which our empirical results show depends on the nature of the underlining search query. Specifically, a firm’s paid search ad increases the searcher’s tendency to click on the firm’s link in the organic section for unbranded searches (the ‘spillover effect’); while a firm’s paid search ad decreases the searcher’s tendency to click on the firm’s link in the organic section for branded searches (the ‘substitution effect’). The second essay examines how consumer click behavior on paid search ads differs across devices by examining their tendency to click on the top ad and sensitivity to ad position. We find that, as compared to desktop users, a) tablet users are more likely to click on the top ad for both branded and unbranded searches; b) smartphone users are more likely to click on the top ad for unbranded searches but not for branded searches; and c) both smartphone and tablet users are more sensitive to ad position for unbranded searches.