“The top of the search results or bust” has long been the driving mentality for marketers when it comes to search.

Surprise! A study by Blue Nile Research concludes otherwise. The 3 most common forms of visual content that influence consumers to click:

  • Star reviews of products, such as giving an item one to five stars
  • An image of the article’s author
  • A local map showing locations

The conclusions are based on a study with 300 consumers. Each was shown only one search result page per scenario, and only the top five search results.

In each case, the consumers were shown a series of search results with a link including visual content in the second position, and a link without rich media in the first position. The consumers chose the enhanced listing 61% of the time. When the same link, without visual content, was in first position, study participants clicked on it just 48% of the time.

This supports the hypothesis that “a search result enhanced with rich media can outperform an unenhanced search result higher on the page,” according to the study. For example, star reviews in position 2 captured 76% of clicks compared to an unenhanced retailer in position 1 capturing 9% of clicks.

The key takeaway for marketers is to expand the search strategy beyond the the elusive top position in the SERPs. The dominant method click thru lure: Secure placement near the top of search results and include rich media as visual appeal.

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