Merkle | RKG’s Digital Marketing Report, Q1 2015, Examines U.S. Organic Search
The first quarter of 2015 ushered in numerous developments both major and minor—such as Google’s announcement that it was pushing for mobile-friendliness in its mobile search results, Yahoo’s gradual shifting of its mobile traffic to Gemini, and Yahoo’s modest gains in U.S. search engine market share following its deal with Mozilla Firefox (@firefox).
Giving marketers and executives alike insight into major digital trends as well as performance across digital channels, Merkle | RKG (@MerkleRKG) recently released its latest quarterly benchmark—Digital Marketing Report, Q1 2015.
Google’s Share of Organic Search Visits Down from Q4 2014
According to the benchmark report, organic search share of site visits was down from Q4 2014. In Q1 2015, organic search visits accounted for under 33% of all site traffic, a decrease from nearly 35% in Q4 2014. [See Figure 1] A plausible reason for this decrease was users’ increasing reliance on direct navigation in Q1 2015 following the holiday season.
Indeed, the share of traffic attributed to users typing website URLs directly into their browsers was up nearly 3% points quarter-to-quarter. “However, some traffic attributed to direct navigation may be from other sources which failed to pass a referrer,” noted the report.
Moreover, Google’s share of organic search traffic in the United States decreased almost one point from Q4 2014, “following a half point decline from Q3 to Q4 in 2014.” This slight point drop could be attributed to Mozilla Firefox’s deal with Yahoo, which took effect in December 2014. Yahoo’s share of organic search traffic increased quarter-to-quarter, growing approximately 1.6 percentage points since Q3 2014. [See Figure 2]
Google’s Share of Mobile Organic Search Traffic Hits 88%; Bing’s Declines
Google’s share of mobile organic search traffic hit 88.2% in Q1 2015, an increase from 85.6% in Q4 2014. Meanwhile, Bing’s share of traffic originating from mobile devices decreased from 5.6% in Q4 2014 to 4% in Q1 2015. [See Figure 3]
Organic Search Visits Growing Steadily Year-Over-Year, with Mobile Spurring Growth
Organic search visits grew 14% year-over-year in Q1 2015, with mobile spurring much of the increase in organic search volume growth (with 54% YoY growth over the past two quarters). Moreover, changes to Google’s search engine results pages, starting from Q3 2014, which resulted in a decline in desktop ad impressions, have likely also played a role in the resurgence of organic traffic. [See Figure 4]
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