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Ask Jeeves Cutting Number Of Ads By 31%

Nathan Weinberg
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-04

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AskJeeves last month began to implement a program to reduce the number of ads atop search results by 31%, a move intended to boost customer satisfaction and the bottom line.

From Search Engine Watch:

Berkowitz said that, in a bid to improve the user experience with the search engine, the company began to implement a program in early April to reduce by 31% the number of ads it shows at the top of its results pages. The company's tests show that a smaller number of ads boosts the frequency with which people use the site and aids user retention. As such, Jeeves expects the change to help lift query volumes and ad revenue later in the year.

The issue at hand is that statistics show that engines like Jeeves, with large numbers of ads but low customer satisfaction, enjoy higher ad clicks than friendlier sites like Google. However, those ad clicks are offset by their lower traffic, caused by those very same ads.

The research presented back at SES New York, if accurate, seemed to indicate that Jeeves would have higher click-through rates, but lower satisfaction, resulting in lower revenues. Jeeves, by dropping the number of ads by a third, is jeapordizing its ad clicks, but at a gain of satisfaction.

The goal is to find that sweet spot where ad clicks are still high, but traffic is also. We'll see if Jeeves can pull it off.

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About the Author:
Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.

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