If you are below the 4th organic listing on mobile you are dead

Canadian B2B digital consultancy Mediative recently released a new whitepaper on the changing behaviours of consumers using mobile devices for Google Search.

If you have some spare time I would recommend reading all 65 pages for the insights it contains.

For those that don’t have the time, what follows is a five-minute overview. The one chart that sums everything up nicely is below.

Paid vs organic comparative data

In summary:

  1.  Being above the fourth organic listing is imperative. Less than two-thirds of mobile searches resulted in scroll-downs and, across the entire study, only 7.4% of links clicked were below the fourth organic listing (compared with 16% on a desktop).
  2. The #1 organic listing still captures the most click activity, but it takes 87% longer for it first to be seen on a mobile (compared to on a desktop).
  3. 19.2% of mobile searches resulted in paid search clicks (compared to 14.5% on desktops).
  4. On average the top organic clickthrough rate when three paid ads were present was 30.4% (compared to 34.1% when only one paid ad was shown).
  5. When the map and local listings were above organic listings, 47% more clicks went to the map and local listings.
  6. 11% more clicks went to the Knowledge Graph result on mobile than on desktop.
  7. Relevancy is still very important. On average, the top sponsored ad was visible after 0.36 seconds but it took 5.95 seconds to be clicked. In that time, participants in the study viewed other listings and scrolled down and back up the page.

Why should you care?

If you take anything away from these findings it should be that you need to treat mobile and desktop differently. There is no doubt that being near the top of a mobile SERP is critical. While searchers may scroll, less than eight percent of clicks were on listings below the fourth organic listing. So, if your listing appear below fourth you are basically invisible.

Over half of Google searches are now conducted on mobiles. Track mobile ranking separately so that you can optimise specifically for mobile, depending on the results you are getting. Make sure you have a mobile optimisation strategy for your site that includes the use of schema to ensure your listings stand out on the smaller screen. Ensure your paid ads stand out (and where relevant use ad extensions to capture more of that valuable screen area).


Mobile Search



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About the Author Glenn Marvin

Glenn is a Partner and Senior Consultant who has had a very successful career building growth companies in the private equity arena. He has a wealth of experience in both the digital space and strategy development. Prior to becoming a partner in SureFire Glenn built one of the largest digital teams in New Zealand for a NASDAQ listed global online marketing company & Google's largest premium partner.

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