An Estimated 2 in 3 Clicks on Google Search Ads Occur on Phones

February 16, 2021

Merkle Device Share of Paid Search Clicks in Q4 2020 Feb2021Combined, smartphones and tablets accounted for a little more than two-thirds (67.8%) of total search ad clicks in Q4 2020, with smartphones making up the vast majority of that figure, per Merkle’s Q4 2020 Digital Marketing Report [download page].

In an analysis of its own clients within the North American market region, Merkle found that 63.6% of total paid search clicks were from smartphones. This share is actually down slightly from the previous quarter, when smartphones accounted for 65% of search ad clicks.

Some 44.7% of paid search ad spending in Q4 went to smartphones. Along with tablets (3.6%), mobile devices accounted for close to half of all paid search ad spend for the quarter.

When looking at Google paid search clicks specifically, smartphones accounted for 67.4% of clicks on the platform during the final quarter of 2020, with a much smaller share of clicks coming from desktops (28.4%) and tablets (4.1%).

Mobile also showed growth in organic search visits on Google (US only). Q4 saw organic search visits on mobile grow by 32.7% year-over-year. This growth was slightly higher than the overall growth experienced by Google organic search visits (30.5% year-over-year).

At the same time, mobile devices accounted for a majority share (61.6%) of Google organic search visits, a share they have more or less maintained since at least the first quarter of 2019.

Finally, the click-through rate (CTR) for smartphones on search results in Q4 2020 grew by 8.6% over the same quarter in 2019. Tablets also saw improvement in CTR, up 2.7%, while desktop CTR fell 4.9% year-over-year.

Merkle attributes some of the improvement in CTR to Google showing fewer Quick Answer (no click) results during the quarter than it did in 2019. This is particularly telling considering Q4 2019 data from Searchmetrics found that, for some industries, the majority of Google searches produced no clicks.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an analysis of Merkle clients in the North American market region.

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