Are Microsoft Users More Gullible When It Comes To Online Advertising?

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Is there something about people who use Microsoft products that makes them more likely to click on an online ad? Some data from search advertising network Chitika suggests so. Earlier this week, we noted that people coming to Websites from Bing are about 75 percent more likely to click on an ad than those coming from Google.

Following that post, Chitika ran some analysis on browsers and operating systems, and it found that users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are about 40 percent more likely to click on an ad than Firefox users, about 50 percent more likely than Apple Safari users, and 80 percent more likely than Google Chrome users.  The numbers are based on Chitika data from 134 million across 80,000 sites.

When it cut the numbers by operating system, Chitika a similar trend.  Windows users are about twice as likely as Linux or Mac users to click on ads. All of this data comes from one advertising network, so I’d say it is more suggestive than scientific (I’d love to know if other ad network are seeing the same trends). But it is a large sample.

Assuming they are representative, you can look at these results two ways. One is that Microsoft users are more valuable to advertisers since they click more. The other conclusion you could come to is that they are simply more gullible and are twice as easy to dupe into clicking on an ad than users of other products. That of course would bring you back to point No. 1, that they are more valuable to advertisers.

The thing that strikes me is that you’d expect to see similar behavior among the mainstream users of whatever brand. For browsers and operating systems that is Microsoft. The users of other brands are more likely to be switchers who are at least technically savvy enough to try something new. Those are the same types of people who are savvy enough to ignore (or actively block) ads.

But this hypothesis fails when you look at the search engine data. In that case, it is Google which is the dominant brand whose users include more of the mainstream, average consumers. Bing users are the switchers. Yet they are more click-happy than Google searchers. Why is that?

Clicks Impressions CTR Vs. IE
Chrome 17,742 8,553,969 0.21% 19.83%
Firefox 398,812 60,250,532 0.66% 63.27%
IE 1,609,309 153,834,681 1.05% 100.00%
Other 25,969 4,349,524 0.60% 57.07%
Safari 100,589 19,961,950 0.50% 48.17%
Vs Windows
Windows 1,987,558 216,115,472 0.92% 100.00%
Linux 7,348 1,610,737 0.46% 49.60%
Mac 123,891 23,885,453 0.52% 56.40%
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