September 6, 2016
The study found that 54.7% of UK internet users ages 18 and up didn’t recognize paid search ads on Google’s search results page. That meant that 45.3% did recognize such ads, but only 8.4% actually clicked on them.
Although younger respondents were more likely to recognize such ads, the proportions that clicked on them were still relatively insignificant—only 9.9% of 18- to 24-year-olds, for example. More striking than that, though, was the change in these proportions from February 2016.
Across all respondents, a greater proportion didn’t even recognize paid search ads in July vs. February—54.7% vs. 50.6%. Meanwhile, the proportion that did recognize said ads but didn’t click on them fell, from 13.3% to 8.4%.
Even younger age groups where shunning such ads. Fully 19.7% of 25- to 34-year-olds surveyed in February said they recognized and clicked on them; a proportion that had almost halved by July. While paid search continues to hold marketer attention, UK consumers seem somewhat more underwhelmed.