Primacy and Recency Effects on Clicking Behavior



As consumers and business increasingly use the Internet, understanding how and why users choose website links or email links becomes correspondingly important. Two recent articles report a monotonic effect of link order and clicking on a link; this means that the higher a link’s position in a list of links, the greater the probability that visitors will click on that link. The difference in probability of clicking has important implications for designing webpage navigation for visitors.

We report on two field experiments that confirm and extend these studies, showing the efficacy of the first link, a primacy effect. Visitors to a site, however, also show an increased tendency to click on links at the end of the list, a recency effect that previous studies failed to note. This article discusses the potential reasons for recency effects, and the implications of serial position effects more generally.