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Contribution Details

Type Bachelor's Thesis
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Building a search behavior tracking tool to observe the effects of featured snippets on search behavior
Organization Unit
  • Davide Fontanella
  • Aniko Hannak
  • Aleksandra Urman
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Faculty Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics
Date 2022
Abstract Text Recent research has shown that the way search results are presented has a major influence on consumer choices and search behavior. The main reason for such choices is that higher-ranked results attract more clicks and attention compared to lower-ranked results. The introduction of featured snippets resembles a substantial change to the overall appearance of the search engine result page and provides a short answer to user queries. This thesis presents a customizable search behavior tracking tool and a controlled web-based experiment on featured snippets using said tool. The goal of the experiment is to observe if and how the presence of a featured snippet affects search behavior, the success of the search, and the confidence in the found answer. The results of the experiment show, that (i) clicks and total search time decrease significantly when a featured snippet is present, (ii) featured snippets that contain a complete and correct answer significantly increase the likelihood of finding the correct answer, and the participants’ confidence in the found answer, and (iii) featured snippets with a partial answer show no significant increase or decrease in the likelihood of finding the correct answer or the participants’ confidence in the found answer. Thus the findings point to the fact that featured snippets on the one hand save users’ time in finding answers, but on the other hand, may also discourage them from taking a variety of sources into consideration. Resultingly, it could be theorized that the implementation of featured snippets could overall lead to less informed decisions.
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