New research shows that 88% of ad clicks from mobile search are incremental to organic clicks

This year, for the first time, the majority of people in the US (56%1) own a smartphone.  In this constantly connected world, people use mobile search throughout the day to find information, shop, and stay connected.  Businesses, therefore, are making mobile a central part of their business and marketing strategy: from building better websites across screens to optimizing mobile ads.  When speaking with advertisers we often hear questions like “What would happen to my organic clicks if my mobile search ads were paused?” They want to know how much of a role their ads play in driving people to their website.

In 2011, we ran the “Search Ads Pause Studies,” and learned that an average of 89% of clicks on search ads are incremental - meaning that this traffic is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused, and therefore is missed.

This year, we carried out the same studies on mobile search and learned that 88% of site visitors driven by mobile search ads would not otherwise click on the business’s organic listing when ads are paused. From March 2012 - April 2013, we conducted Mobile Search Ads Pause studies on more than 300 US AdWords accounts from 12 key verticals. The research focused on search terms that had an organic listing on the first page and adjusted for factors like seasonality. Similar to our previous study of search ads across all devices, we found that an average of 88% of clicks generated by mobile ads were incremental.

Results were consistently high across all verticals: 97% of mobile ads clicks are incremental for classified and local advertisers, 86% for retail advertisers, and 90% for technology brands, just to name a few.  Today consumers use mobile search to connect with businesses across a wide variety of industries and trust both organic and paid results to help accomplish their goals. The infographic below shows the percentages across all 12 verticals.

Mobile ads can help consumers connect with all types of businesses. This study continues to show the importance of advertising on mobile whether you are a restaurant owner, a sporting goods retailer or automobile brand.  People are searching all the time, across devices.  Therefore, it’s more important than ever before to make sure that your message is where people are looking. AdWords enhanced campaigns makes this easy for advertisers.  By upgrading to enhanced campaigns, advertisers can effectively reach consumers using mobile devices based on contextual signals like their location and time of day.

Posted by Andy Miller, Head of Global Mobile Search Solutions

1Our Mobile Planet 2013

Introducing the Google Databoard: A new way to explore research

It’s important for businesses to stay up to date about the most recent research and insights related to their industry. Unfortunately -- with so many new studies and with data being updated so often -- it can difficult to keep up. To make life a bit easier, we created the Databoard for Research Insights, which allows people to explore and interact with some of Google’s recent research in a unique and immersive way.

The Databoard is our response to three big challenges facing the vast majority of research released today.
  1. Ease of consumption: The databoard introduces a new way of sharing data, with all of the information presented in a simple and beautiful way. Users can explore an entire study or jump straight to the topics or datapoints that they care about. The Databoard is also optimized for all devices so you can comfortably explore the research on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  2. Shareability: Most people, when they find a compelling piece of data, want to share it! Whether its with a colleague, client, or a community on a blog or social network, compelling insights and data are meant to be shared. The databoard is designed for shareability, allowing users to share individual charts and insights or collections of data with anyone through email or social networks.
  3. A cohesive story: Most research studies set out to answer a specific question, like how people use their smartphones in store, or how a specific type of consumer shops. This means that businesses need to look across multiple pieces of research to craft a comprehensive business or marketing strategy. To address this need, the Databoard allows users to curate a customized infographic out of the charts or data points you find important across multiple Google research studies. Creating an infographic is quick and easy, and you can share the finished product with your friends or colleagues.
The databoard is currently home to four research studies including The New Multi-screen World, Mobile In-store shopper research, Mobile search moments, and more. New studies will be added frequently so be sure to check back often. To get started exploring the Databoard and creating your own infographic visit

Posted by Adam Grunewald, Mobile Marketing Manager

Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search

It’s a typical Friday night quandary—you want to see a movie, but the question is, what movie should you watch? The decision to see a specific film actually involves quite a bit of research, and as moviegoers are increasingly turning to search to learn more about various titles, we have been able to identify general search patterns that give us insight into awareness and intent levels. In ‘Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search,’ we examine how Google search and paid ad click patterns can predict box office revenue, and what digital engagement can tell us about the moviegoer decision-making process.

We took a look at 99 of the top box office hits in 2012, and drew these key findings about the way people search for movies:
  • The decision to see a movie is a very highly-considered research process. On average, moviegoers consult 13 sources before they make a decision.* And people are now searching more than before - while overall new movie releases were down last year, searches in the movie category on Google are up 56% from 2011 to 2012, signaling an increase in digital engagement and appetite for more information.
  • Trailer-related search trends four weeks out from a movie release provide strong predictive power for opening weekend box office revenue. Interestingly, while we see more search volume in weeks closer to the release week, the Google and YouTube search patterns four weeks out from the release have the strongest link to moviegoer intent. At four weeks out, trailer search volume on Google coupled with both the franchise status of the movie and seasonality can predict opening weekend box office revenue with 94% accuracy.
  • Opening weekend prediction modeling shows high correlation between search volume / paid click volume and box office revenue. In the seven day window prior to a film’s release date, if a film receives 250,000 search queries more than a similar film, the film with more queries is likely to perform up to $4.3M better during opening weekend. When looking at search ad click volume, if a film has 20,000 more paid clicks than a similar film, it is expected to bring in up to $7.5M more during opening weekend.
  • Moviegoers search differently for big movie releases. During slower box office weeks, we see more searches on generic terms (such as "new movies" or “movie tickets”), whereas during the week of a tentpole movie release we see more searches on movie titles (such as "The Hunger Games" or "Avengers"). For tentpole film releases, marketers have the ability to capture more interest by advertising on title-related search terms, whereas for non-tentpole releases it is important to advertise on more generic terms.
  • 48% of moviegoers decide what film to watch the day they purchase their ticket, so it’s important to have a continued search presence through opening weekend and beyond.*
By understanding how and when moviegoers search for information, movie marketers have the opportunity to adjust their strategies to further engage, and more importantly, convince moviegoers to choose their film. To learn more, download the full whitepaper from Think with Google.

Posted by Andrea Chen, Principal Industry Analyst, Media and Entertainment

*Source: Google Social Research Study, December 2012

Mobile’s immediacy effect: Half of mobile search conversions happen in one hour

In this era of mobility, our smartphones are always with us, keeping us connected anytime and anywhere. With this constant connectivity, we’ve come to expect information (literally) right at our fingertips just a search away - whether it’s locating the nearest sushi restaurant or booking flights for your upcoming trip. In “Mobile Search Moments: Understanding How Mobile Drives Conversions”, we set out to understand when and why people turn to mobile search, the actions they take as a result, and how marketers can capitalize on every mobile search moment. We found that there’s an immediacy effect of mobile search, with more than half of the resulting conversions (going into a store, calling a business, or making a purchase) happening within just one hour.

Working with Nielsen, we also wanted to push the standard of mobile research. It’s traditionally been difficult to quantify mobile’s full impact on driving conversions, particularly since consumer surveys are often constrained to broad recall questions. Instead, we asked participants to log their mobile searches over two weeks in a diary smartphone app - logging more than 6,000 mobile searches in total. We followed up to ask them what actions resulted from those searches, helping us draw more precise, measurable connections between mobile searches and the conversions that they drive online and offline.

click to expand

Here are the highlights of the research:

Mobile search is both always-on and on-the-go
Mobile has traditionally been considered an out-and-about or on-the-go context, used on the bus or while in a store. While that’s certainly true, the research showed that mobile’s role is also much more than that. People turn to mobile devices throughout the day to find information because of its speed and convenience, with 77% of mobile searches happening at home or at work. What does this mean for marketers? Mobile is always-on for consumers, so marketers should make sure their mobile search strategies are reaching people in these different customer contexts.

Mobile searchers take a variety of actions... and they act quickly
We also found that three of four mobile searches trigger additional actions. These range from open-ended actions like additional research (36%) or a website visit (25%), to more concrete conversions like a store visit (17%), a purchase (17%), or a phone call (7%). On average, each mobile search triggers nearly two actions, so in order to understand the full value of mobile, marketers must evaluate the different ways that their customers convert, both online and offline, and measure accordingly.

Most interestingly, not only do mobile searchers take action - they act fast. In fact, 55% of conversions from mobile searches happen within one hour. We see this immediacy effect with mobile because not only are people potentially closer in physical proximity to a purchase, but they’re also closer to the crucial decision moments. Forty-five percent of mobile searches are conducted to help make a decision, and that number jumps to two-thirds when happening in a store. And when people use mobile search to help make a decision, they’re more likely to convert. So it’s important for marketers to be present during those searches, while also creating ads and experiences that are relevant to this immediacy.

Context is key to mobile searches
The research also showed that the types of searches people conduct on mobile are strongly tied to their specific context, like location and time of day. For instance, shopping searches are twice as likely to be done in-store. Mobile searches made in stores are a key opportunity for marketers to reach someone who’s looking to take action. And since searchers are also 55% more likely to notice ads when they’re in a store, there’s a huge opportunity for marketers to capitalize on these mobile-led moments.

Mobility continues to change the way that we search, explore and shop, and as consumer behavior comes further into focus, there are clear opportunities for marketers to take advantage. Check out all of our findings by downloading the full report here.
Posted by: Ben Chung, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads

Research pane updates: quick access to your stuff in Docs, Slides & Drawings

A few months ago, the research pane was added to Docs to make it easier for you to search for and add web results, images, quotations, maps, and articles to your document. Starting today, the research pane is also available in Slides and Drawings, and searches now include your stuff in addition to web results.

With the research pane, you can now quickly find and use your stuff: include part of a presentation stored in Drive, insert an image from your Picasa albums, or grab a quote from a friend’s Google+ post. (Google Apps customers will only see web results in their research panes.)
(Previewing and inserting a spreadsheet from Google Drive) 

 Posted by: Vivek Agarwal, Software Engineer

Younger viewers say hello to online video in 2012

As more consumers reach for their smartphones, tablets and laptops for news and entertainment, there’s a new segment of viewers that watch less than two hours of TV per day - the “light TV viewer.” Around 31% of adults 18 to 49 are light TV viewers. And this segment is growing - households that opted for broadband internet instead of cable TV grew 22.8 percent over the past year, according to the latest Cross Platform Report from Nielsen.

To understand how this trend will impact advertisers in 2012, we partnered with Nielsen to conduct six cross-media studies looking at viewership patterns and campaign effectiveness across TV, YouTube and the Google Display Network (GDN). The conclusion? The light TV viewer is more efficiently reached with cross media campaigns on YouTube and the GDN than with TV alone.

The Light TV viewer
Consumers in this group tend to be younger (49 years old and below), diverse, college-educated, high-income, social-networking, and influential consumers. Our research found that light TV viewers overall averaged only 39 minutes of TV a day. Since this audience watches significantly less TV than the general population, they can be difficult to reach with TV advertising alone.

Additional reach, lower cost
On average, YouTube and GDN campaigns added 4 percentage points of incremental reach to light TV viewers - and it cost 92 percent less to achieve these results online than it would have on TV. The research also showed that TV failed to reach 63 percent of light TV viewers.

By shifting budget from TV networks that primarily reach the “heavy TV viewer” audience to YouTube and the GDN, you could more efficiently reach light TV viewers. In our study, a projection done for Reebok found that advertiser could decrease impressions to heavy TV viewers by 40 percent and increase impressions delivered to light TV viewers by 76 percent, showing more ads to a valuable, hard-to-reach audience.

Increased frequency and recall
Finally, our research showed that online campaigns added much-needed frequency to help increase brand recall for the light TV viewer. Combining YouTube and GDN drove a 27 percent increase in impressions, since even light TV viewers exposed to both TV and online ads saw more online ads than TV.

Overall, the results suggest that adding YouTube and the GDN to your TV network campaigns improves effectiveness in several powerful ways, helping to:
  • Reach a valuable, complementary, younger audience
  • Add much-needed frequency to light TV viewers
  • Deliver media more evenly across light and heavy TV viewers, reducing waste
  • Do all of this both efficiently and affordably

To learn more about how to reach the lightest TV viewer, visit Think Insights to view more findings from the full study.

Posted by Sheethal Shobowale, Advertising Research Manager


Better results, (still) early adoption: Marketing attribution in a complex digital landscape

Originally posted on the Google Analytics blog

Today, we’re sharing some research on marketing attribution that we conducted in partnership with Econsultancy, a leading digital market research firm. The insights -- Marketing Attribution: Valuing the Customer Journey -- provide a snapshot of how marketers and agencies are conducting attribution, the impact it has, and the barriers holding them back.

If you’re not familiar with digital attribution, it’s about distributing credit to all of the elements of your digital marketing program, so you can gauge the impact of customer marketing interactions on your sales results and make more accurate investment decisions. Here are a few snippets from the report that we found interesting:

It’s still a new craft, but early results show positive impact
Although digital attribution is still relatively new -- 83% of practitioners we surveyed have been using it for less than 2 years -- it clearly has a positive impact on businesses that employ it. 72% agree that it leads to better budget allocations, 63% gained a better understanding of how digital channels work together, and 58% had clearer insights into their audience:

Attribution leads to improved ROI, better budgeting

Last click attribution dominates; agencies are leading the way in experimentation
Most digital marketers run multiple campaigns, each with different strategies and objectives. For instance, display campaigns that are designed to generate awareness will have a different impact on sales than paid search campaigns designed to bring in buyers. Yet most marketers today still use attribution models that do not account for these differences in strategy. Although only 14% of respondents consider “last click” attribution to be “very effective,” it remains common; most likely because marketers haven't yet found or mastered the right attribution tools. Digital marketing agencies have done more with sophisticated attribution methods and technologies:

Robust attribution leads to confident digital decisions
For organizations that use attribution, it often leads to greater confidence in marketing choices: if you know the impact of your programs, it’s easier to budget for them. As one online retailer commented, “Attribution was the missing piece to our campaign analysis. Now we don’t run a campaign without learning something about how our marketing affects the buying cycle, and then testing to see whether it applies in the long run.”

Performing marketing attribution with Google
Here at Google we spend our time building intuitive tools to make measurement easier, so that you can really use your data to make smarter decisions. That’s why we provide several important tools for marketing attribution, including Search Funnels in AdWords and Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics. And check out our Attribution Modeling tool in Google Analytics Premium, which includes five standard attribution models plus a custom model builder, so you can create and customize attribution models in minutes, and see data instantly. Learn more in our Attribution Playbook.

Join us for an Attribution Hangout
If you’re available this Friday, April 6, at 9:00am PDT, please join Bill Kee, Product Manager for Attribution, and Justin Cutroni, Analytics Advocate, for a Google+ Hangout. Bill will talk about the research and give a demo of the Attribution tool in Google Analytics Premium, as well as discussing Multi-Channel Funnels and AdWords Search Funnels, two complementary features.

To watch the Hangout on Air, tune into Justin’s Google+ Page on Friday. If you have a question that you would like us to discuss, please enter it in this this form -- and we’ll invite five of you to join the Hangout live to ask your questions.

We look forward to seeing you at the Hangout on Friday!

Sara Jablon Moked, Product Marketing Manager, Conversion and Attribution

New research: Organic search results and their impact on search ads

The Google Research team has a new study out today that examines how organic search results and ranking impact ad impressions and ad clicks. The team analyzed 390 Search Ads Pause studies and found, on average:

  • 81% of ad impressions and 66% of ad clicks occur in the absence of an associated organic result on the first page of search results. All ad clicks in these situations are incremental.
  • On average, for advertisers who appear in the top rank organic slot, 50% of ad clicks are incremental. This means that half of all ad clicks are not replaced by organic clicks when search ads are paused.
  • For advertisers whose organic search results are in the 2nd to 4th position, 81% of ad clicks are incremental. For advertisers appearing in organic position of 5 or lower, 96% of ad clicks are incremental.

The numbers reported here are averages. As always, we encourage advertisers to experiment with their own accounts to determine their individual incrementality rate. This rate should be factored into ROI calculations.

You can read more about it and see the infographic on the Google Research blog here.

Posted by Christina Park, Product Marketing Manager