Google’s dominance in search, particularly mobile search, helped it deliver strong results in the first quarter.
Google accounted for 93% of all organic search-driven visits during the first quarter, and 96% of U.S. visits driven by a mobile organic search, according to digital marketing firm Merkle RKG’s “Merkle Digital Marketing Report Q1 2018.”
Those results have helped propel its thriving and evolving advertising business. Google reported Monday that paid clicks on ads on Google-owned properties, such as its search engine and YouTube, jumped 59% compared with the same period a year ago.
The average cost per click on a Google ad on Google-owned properties fell 19% compared with the same period a year earlier.
The search giant says the number of impressions across Google-owned properties and its ad network were flat, and the cost per impression on those properties rose 18%.
“We’re excited by the still sizable opportunity in search advertising led by mobile,” said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet Inc., which is Google’s parent company, during a conference call with analysts. She went on to note that Google aims to “make Google Search and Shopping the best places for people to find and buy products from a range of merchants. We recently announced shopping actions, allowing customers to easily buy from their choice of participating retailers on the Google Assistant and Search with the universal card across mobile, desktop and even Google Home. The results are really helping retailers. Early testing showed that participating retailers see an average increase in basket size of about 30%.”
One issue that could stand in the company’s way is a growing privacy backlash from both consumers and regulators. After Congress questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month, Democrats and some Republicans called for broad privacy regulation, which would put Google on the hot seat next to Zuckerberg. The search giant is also facing a broader privacy movement. For instance, the European privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect on May 25.
“We started working on GDPR compliance over 18 months ago and have been very, very engaged on it,” said Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. “It’s really important, and we care about getting it right. And overall, we have long had a very robust and strong privacy program at Google, too. So we are committed to meeting requirements on May 25 and also long term. We are working very closely with advertisers, publishers and our partners. And we will also update all the privacy policies and controls we provide to users worldwide. So it’s a big effort. We are very committed to it. We are very focused on getting it right by our users and partners, and that’s where our focus is now.”
For the first quarter ended March 31, Alphabet reported: