The average number of ads on a Google Search recipe? 8.7

Bradley Webb
Apr 29, 2022
The average number of ads on a Google Search recipe? 8.7

Legend has it that 252 licks bring you to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. How many ads does it take to reach the center of a recipe on Google?

Go ahead. Guess how many ads are shown on Google’s first search result for “egg salad”.

Immediately bombarded with 2 ads and a popup...
@#!$?!

Sometimes, there's not a single piece of non-ad content! And no, we still haven’t even reached the recipe…

The answer? 15 ads before you reach the recipe. Two ads on the recipe! And two ads after the recipe, for a total of 19 ads.

Searchers were so confounded that they dumped ¼ cup of dried dill into their mayonnaise.

The chef was too stunned to cook.

Is this recipe an outlier? Or do egg salad lovers simply love ads?

To find out, we paid 500 Surgers on our labeling platform to search for a recipe and count the number of ads on the first 3 Google results.

The data collection UI that Surgers were presented with

The answer? On average, each page contained 8.7 ads.

Distribution of the number of ads on a Google Search recipe

And yes, one page – the first search result for “fried rice and chicken” – contained a whopping 32! Witness its glory:

A massive, clickbait popup and 2 ads to get started
Sometimes, the actual content takes up <10% of the page!
Not safe even once I reach the recipe

If you need to bleach your eyes, here’s a beaver carrying a carrot and a head of lettuce back to his home.

At Surge, we're building a human data platform, and our mission is to align AI with human intelligence and values – whether it’s training large language models to be safe and informative, capturing human judgment in hate speech models, or moving News Feed-style systems beyond engagement and clicks.

So imagine searching for an egg salad recipe. What if we could build new, state-of-the-art AI engines that help us actually achieve our goals – making lunch in 10 minutes – instead of rewarding SEO farms containing 500+ words and 20+ ads?

Bradley Webb

Bradley Webb

Bradley runs Surge AI's Product and Growth teams. He previously led Integrity and Data Operations teams at Facebook, and graduated from Dartmouth.

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