Insights

5th February 2019

Varn Original Research: Only 40% of people know which links on Google are paid adverts

Since our first survey in 2016, the amount of people who are unable to identify adverts on Google hasn’t really changed. In fact, over the past few years, the percentage of those surveyed who are not aware of the paid adverts on Google has stayed at just under 60%.

What has changed though, is the number of respondents who recognise the adverts but choose not to click on them. In January 2018, 7.7% of respondents were aware of Google adverts and told us that they did click on them, this figure has dropped by 2.2% in our latest survey.

This means that out of the 40% of people who do recognise adverts on Google, only 5.5% of them are choosing to click on them. This may be alarming to businesses using pay-per-click marketing, as the number of clicks received by organic search results is still higher than those received by ads. However, it is worth noting that Google Ad results are more likely to end with a purchase than organic clicks.

This is because just under 65% of clicks that start with buying keywords go to Google Ads, compared to the 35% going to organic results.  So, for searches that have a higher commercial intent, such as searches where a consumer is looking to purchase a dishwasher, sponsored results are actually performing better.

This is good news for companies offering products and services, as they may find that they will be getting a better ROI than businesses who have Google Ad placements for informational keywords and brand keywords.

 

Is there a lack of consumer understanding around Google Ads?

Ads are starting to take over Google, with their look becoming more and more subtle over the years. As a result, some shoppers who are choosing not to click on sponsored search results may feel that these ads are trying to force them in to purchasing products.

Contrary to belief, this is not actually the case. Whilst businesses do bid on keywords to show up in search results, Google doesn’t just let any ad appear in search results.

Instead, Google has been working harder over the years to ensure it is benefiting consumers and that it is delivering adverts that are relevant to a user and their search query.

Those wishing to rank for certain keywords will have to bid on the keyword they want to rank for and can out bid other businesses. But there are other factors that determine where an ad shows on Google and whether it ranks at all.

Google assesses each ad and gives it a quality score which can impact how much the keyword costs and where an ad appears. The quality score is based on the quality of the ad itself and the landing page that it leads to, so the more relevant the ad and the landing page, the higher the quality score. Google Ad Rank also has its own set of quality thresholds that the ad must meet to be eligible to appear, such as location, device type and the topic of the search.

This system has evolved to pair consumers with businesses who genuinely meet their needs and pair businesses with consumers who are actively interested in the products and services that they offer.

 

It is clear that there is still a lack of trust from consumers surrounding search engine adverts and their intentions, but pay-per-click advertising is still something that businesses consider investing in. As the online market continues to grow, these businesses will need to be aware that some keywords are going to perform better for SEO and organic clicks, whilst others will perform better for pay-per-click campaigns and should take this in to account when planning their strategy.

For further assistance on perfecting your marketing strategy, get in touch with the team at Varn today to find out how we can help you.