Posted December 11, 2009 6:49 pm by with 18 comments

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New data from Chitika indicate that Microsoft users—both browser and operating system—click on online advertisements more often than other users. And considering what a significant portion of the market those segments constitute, that’s pretty dang good news.

From a sample of over 130 million impressions, Chitika saw a click-through rate of 1.05% from Internet Explorer users, versus 0.66% from Firefox users, 0.50% from Safari users and 0.21% from Chrome users. Similarly, Windows users outclick their Mac and Linux counterparts, 0.92% to 0.52% to 0.46%, respectively. According to TechCrunch, even Bing has higher click-through rates than other search engines.


So why is this large audience clicking so much? Are they “gullible,” as TechCrunch asks, not savvy enough to switch browsers or recognize an ad, or simply more engaged?

For whatever reason, this large group of the market certainly constitutes a valuable segment for marketers.

What do you think? Why do Microsoft users click more?

  • Just first thought and an opinion, some research needed. How many libraries allow internet use? Most of the libraries that I have been to only use IE and nothing else, also most workers that use the internet while at work can only use IE. This could be some key factors in play to why so many Microsoft users.
    .-= Elijah´s last blog ..Shoes for Big Feet =-.

  • I wouldn’t say they are gullible, but that they lack experience and the ability to effectively sort through search results.
    .-= Kevin´s last blog ..Headshots =-.

  • Laurent

    What Kevin said. Users who know about other browsers than the one that came installed with their computer are usually the ones who have more web experience. Or so I would think.

    • True because anytime I see a friend or family member open IE, I ask why don’t you use Firefox or another browser and they reply what is that.

  • Those who monetize by ads a la Chitika are surely praising IE’s market share now!

    I think the library / kiosk / default hotspot response is spot-on. I also think there is not an intelligence or knowledge gap as some suggested elsewhere. Although we may find it hard to believe, the majority of the population doesn’t have multiple browsers and profiles. Asking the average bear to go install Firefox and customize it to their liking is not typical web user behavior. And those users who view the web as utility (email, information, work, shopping, etc.) are nowhere near installing Chrome or Opera or anything else.

    The interesting thing we’ve found is that some of our PPC clients convert better on MSN for many of the same reasons. It’s not that the visitor doesn’t recognize an ad. That’s more than a little insulting to them. Their response when we’ve surveyed post-sale is “I wanted information, I clicked on what I saw”. They’re *indifferent* to source and, true, that sometimes may lead them into bad sites or scams, but they’re also more trusting and easily swayed when credibility enhancers are on landing pages.

  • monkeyboy

    Its all about spotting a possible group of consumers and going for it. What sets Window users apart from users of other OSs is probably a multifaceted set of factors. From the marketers ability to identify and target the potential consumer to the ratio of browsers to each other. There is no one factor.

  • Wow, very interesting statistic. I would thought Firefox would have the highest clicks.

  • I think Mircosoft users click more because there are purely MORE of them – i agree with the library/hotspot comment, and because most people, for day-to-day web use, have no reason or need to use any other browser. But I don’t think that’s because they’re more ‘gullible’ – I watched as other people navigated through pages to find what they want, and whilst I see ad’s and think “Ad. No.” they will see the ad, see what it’s selling/saying, and if it’s useful, click it – which makes sense! I think it’s more about your depth of web experience that gullibility.
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..SEO Video Blog – Google Personalised Search #29 =-.

  • Pingback: Microsoft coinvolge molto i suoi utenti con l’advertising on-line | ciaoblog()

  • Laurent

    The number of people who use each browser has nothing to do with it. Those are % per browser, the stats would be meaningless otherwise.

  • While it’s true that percentages mean that the number of IE users doesn’t impact the stats above, it’s also important to note that the fact that it’s a percentage and IE is so dominant makes the IE even more significant.

    For example, if there were 10,000 US Internet users:

    6300 would use IE
    2500 would use FF
    400 would use Safari
    400 would use Chrome
    (400 use other browsers)

    Of those, half of a Chrome user would click on an ad, 2 Safari users, 16.5 FF users and over 66 IE users would click ads.

    Because there are so many more IE users, a higher percentage means even higher raw numbers. (So the theory that it’s because there are a lot of IE users doesn’t hold water.)

  • This statistics has come as a surprise for me. My Google analytics stats show that about 64% visitors to my site use firefox as their browser. And this is really high percentage of users. Even I personally use FF more often then other browsers.
    .-= Rennell Garrett´s last blog ..Are strong relationships really important? (Atlanta Marketing) =-.

  • @jordan — Nice way to put browser share in context.

    @rennell — I have a couple of clients who over-index like crazy on Macs. It’s a lifestyle thing for them. I totally get it, and while the client doesn’t sell something for Macs, we see upwards of 20% of all traffic and even more of the conversions as Macs. Likewise, we have clients who convert better on Yahoo or MSN then on Google. I think you’re smart to look at all elements of your traffic, but the story is going to be different even on the same client with different creative.
    .-= George Bounacos´s last blog ..Google: Yeah, We Got That =-.

  • This is really interesting to me. I’ve noticed higher conversions for years from traffic I get from the Microsoft line of search engines.

    I’ve always assumed this was due to a combination of a richer and less tech-savvy demographic.
    .-= poorwebguy´s last blog ..Another Day, Another Penny =-.

  • Isn’t it because the other browsers don’t have that many ads? Isn’t that the reason why we switched over from IE, because we were overwhelmed with ads and wanted faster browsing, quicker loading and fewer distractions?
    I agree with Elijah on libraries using only IE; I don’t like it since I’m used to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari and I dropped IE ages ago..
    My sister too had IE on her laptop and I did ask why she wasn’t using Chrome or Firefox; had to download them for her to get her away from the ‘bulky’ IE.

    Sorry, no IE for me.
    .-= David Walker´s last blog ..Live Webinar – Thursday 17 December 5pm EST =-.

  • Laurent

    What makes you say IE has more ads?

    For the same content displayed, each browser will have the same amount of ads displayed.

    The only thing that could change that are ads blockers. Are you saying people on firefox or chrome (since last week) use more ad blockers? I have no data regarding that but I know many people who use pop up blockers and such on IE too.

    But even this is a non issue because we’re talking about a click-through rate here. The number of ads shown and number of people using IE have nothing to do with why the click-through rate is higher for IE.

    I find it a little concerning that so many people on a marketing blog have such a hard time understanding basic data.

  • john cote

    i think that msn~bing users click on the ppc advertisers, because if you are looking for a local service, the “organic results” suck. verizon,att and other third party directories will be listed 1st, 2nd, and third,those are no fun to wander. so a person who actually needs something is forced to click on the ppc advertisers to get it. while google will give you the top five or six companies in the searched area. i sell fence in clearwater fl, (bay area fence factory) search “fence for sale clearwater” on both systems, bing is not very helpful. cote

  • Microsoft and Devil are two sides of same coin .