Google continues to dominate organic search and was responsible for 96% of all visits on mobile during the fourth quarter of last year, according to Merkle’s latest Digital Marketing Report.
Total organic search increased by 2% during the period, and mobile was the primary growth driver as organic search visits soared 17% on smartphones, compared with an 11% and a 10% decline on tablets and desktops, respectively.
The final three months of the year are traditionally a quieter period for organic search as marketers often switch to paid methods to support paid channels in the run-up to Christmas. While there was a 2% increase overall, it was down on the 6% hike seen in the third quarter.
Google remains the top dog in almost every aspect of organic search, but it was trumped in one area. The privacy-focused DuckDuckGo saw considerable organic search visits growth of 75% on mobile in Q4, which was way ahead of Google’s 12% and Bing’s 2%. DuckDuckGo’s overall volume also climbed 34%.
Merkle’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Erin Hutchinson said: “Coming off of a very healthy holiday shopping season for retailers, our Digital Marketing Report sheds light on digital marketing strategies and how they are shifting to suit consumer shopping habits.”
The report also found that organic search is now skewed towards mobile as smartphones produced 61% of organic visits during the final three months of 2018. Google’s Shopping Ads also thrived in Q4.