35.1% of users recognise ads on Google but don’t click on them | Varn


11 August 2019

Varn Original Research: 35.1% of users recognise ads on Google but don’t click on them

Read our latest 2022 Google Ads Research >> click here

In July, we asked users the question “Do you know which links on the Google search results page are paid adverts?” Looking at the stats closer, we saw that just over 35% of UK respondents do recognise these ads but choose not to click on them, whilst just under 7% of respondents do recognise ads and do click on them.

We also found 58% of people still don’t know which listings on the search engine results pages on Google are paid ads. This is down by 1.3% from our research at the beginning of this year. Although this is only a 0.4% drop from the 59.7% of users who didn’t know which listings were ads this time last year.

Whilst these figures do seem surprising as consumers become more aware and possibly cautious of advertising, the sponsored results appearing in Google aren’t necessarily very distinguishable from regular search results.

From our data, we were unable to ascertain how many of the 58% of users who didn’t recognise ads were clicking on them and its key to remember that just because they didn’t recognise them, it doesn’t mean they didn’t click on them. However, we have delved more into why users may ignore ads in the search results as a portion of them have in our research data.

You can download a PDF of these results here.

Why are 35.1% of users ignoring ads?

Ultimately, people search online with intent, meaning they conduct online searches to find specific products, services, or information.

Whilst we cannot rule out the fact that some users simply do not trust adverts online, and scroll past them, there are some other factors that may influence why.

  • Some users might get distracted from searching and not click at all
  • They might have gotten the answer they were looking for via a meta description
  • They may be looking for local services and refer to Google map listings instead
  • Ads are simply not relevant

In the world of website SEO, relevancy is a determining factor of how content ranks and how many people visit that content. So it only makes sense that this is true for ads as well.

Organic SEO and the rise of featured snippets

Another factor that we now have to consider is the increase of featured snippets on the SERPs (search engine results pages). Featured snippets provide short, immediate answers to search queries and are one of the most coveted SERP features, mainly because they usually appear at the top of the results page above all other rankings.  They are in a position that is often referred to as Position 0!

Featured snippets have a greater chance of being clicked on compared to ads, as they are being viewed more and more by users as the best response to a query. These featured snippets can be paragraphs, lists, and tables and as they are usually bang on with their response, users are more tempted to click through and ignore other ad or organic listings.

With less people clicking on ads and more clicks going to organic searches, you should ensure you are putting be a large focus on ensuring you are ranking well organically.

For more support on devising a strategy for your search marketing, get in touch with the team at Varn today.

Article by: David, SEO Account Manager More articles by David

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