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In the last couple of years, Google’s search capabilities came under the scanner because of some new and existing search players such as DuckDuckGo, Yahoo and Bing network. Despite facing some stiff competition, Google searches still rule the roost when it comes to attracting large mobile search traffic. Search and Digital Marketing Agency Merkle’s First Quarter Digital Marketing, 2016 report more or less affirms the numero-uno authority of Google over Yahoo and Bing searches on the mobile platform. The credit should go to the Operation Team at Google that makes it the “Big Daddy of Search Engines” in the world of Internet Marketing.

From desktop crawls to mobile searches, Google continues to top the charts both in terms of revenue generation and bringing out large number of traffic to the site. Google seems to be raking in the moolah, with its mobile click share surging from 33% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 39% in the first quarter of 2016. Talking about mobile clicks, Google paid searches accounted for 57% clicks in the Q1, 2016. While the paid search ad clicks on Google’s desktop version remained flat, its tablet borne clicks witnessed a drop of 5% year over year as compared to the over 100% growth registered by smartphone clicks.


With the ad spend rising by 25% year over year and click volume surging up to 33%, Google’s paid search recorded a strong growth in the first quarter this year, among Merkle’s client base. In total, CPC metric count registered a mere 6% drop as the smartphone ad click share continued to grow over a period of time. On one hand, the non-branded search ad clicks registered a 42% growth. Whereas on the other hand, non-branded keywords saw a growth of 24%, the strongest growth rate recorded so far.

Talking about the Yahoo-Bing combined performance,  the ads spend on the Yahoo-Bing network recorded a 10% drop year over year. Ad clicks on the network registered a 14% drop, while the CPC count grew by 4%.

Google’s mobile search dominance continues


Talking about Merkle’s client base, around 95% of all mobile paid search click impressions came on Google’s platform in the first quarter this year, which grew from the 86% recorded last year. Overall, the Bing ads platform generated nearly 19% of all desktop clicks. Tablet clicks stood at 13% and the smartphone clicks recorded only 3% in the US. Whereas the Yahoo Gemini network accounted to only 3% of all ad clicks on desktop and tablets and a mere 1% of all ad click impressions on the mobile platform.

How the PLAs fared in the US market

Talking about the Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Merkle’s report uses stats from large US retailers which act as a benchmark of sorts for reviewing the PLA search trends in the US. In the first Quarter this year, PLA spend surged to 41% year over year as compared to the text ads, which grew by 13% during the same period.

Talking about the click rate, PLAs attracted 43% of the retail clients’ total ad clicks from Google and a massive 70% clicks from the non-brands. On an average, PLAs attracted a major share of click counts for big retailers than the smaller ones, and they accounted for 37% of overall Google’s click tally from the PLAs.


Overall, clicks from Search Partners (including third-party retailers and Google’s image search tally) increased to 545% year over year, which includes a mere 6% contribution to the increased PLA click tally.

How ads fared on Bing and Gemini platforms

Contrary to Google’s capability to monetize mobile based PLAs, its competitor Bing reported a PLA tally of 21% in the first quarter this year, which is a considerable drop from 98% reported last year.

Talking about the click rates, there was a 12% decrease in non-branded clicks across both the search platforms, as ad spend on non-branded keywords dropped to 10%. This resulted in an increase of a 2% CPC metric count of non-branded terms.


On the other hand, Yahoo-Gemini’s combined network witnessed a steady click ratio since August last year, when it decided to move away from Bing ads. The click share on Gemini’s platform was within 17% in the first quarter report this year.

Talking about smartphones, the overall click tally from both the search platforms fell by 9% as compared to last year. There’s more to the stats as Merkle indicates, “The platform was originally launched to cater the needs of the Smartphones, 56% clicks on Gemini’s Platform were made on the site’s desktop version in the first quarter of the year.”

How Google’s No Right Ads policy impacted the trends

Talking about the impact, after Google decided to do away with the right side text ads in the desktop searches, Merkle report says it has had a little effect on both organic and paid searches in the first quarter report. In fact, after Google displaying PLAs with increased efficiency, the PLAs got a booster in terms of click volume. Now there’s less visual competition when they show up as ads.

For more details on the subject, click to download the full version of Merkle Digital Marketing Report, 2016.

About The Author

Chris Carter works at, a White Label Software + Services provider for online marketing agencies.