Video Takes 65% Share of Google Universal Search, While Product Listing Ads Rise 200%, Finds New Study

Searchmetrics research says Universal Search Integrations appear in 81% of all Google searches

San Mateo, California, June 18, 2014:  Google delivers blended or Universal Search results for around 81% of all searches according to a new study from pioneer and leading global, enterprise SEO platform provider, Searchmetrics. During 2013, Universal Search Integrations featuring Video results appeared for 65% of keyword searches, while the total count of Google Shopping Product Listing Ads (PLAs) appearing within Universal Search grew by nearly 200%.

Searchmetrics studied search results for millions of keywords to analyze the type and frequency of Universal Search Integrations (Video, Images, News, Shopping and Map results) that are blended into search pages.

“Overall we found that four out of five keyword searches (81%) generate at least one Universal Search Integration within Google results – this is up slightly from 75% in December 2012, when we last studied Universal Search,” said Marcus Tober, Founder and CTO of Searchmetrics. “Universal Search Integrations are important for businesses who want to drive awareness and online revenue via search. They attract greater attention and generate higher click-through rates than standard search results because the different types of media – such as News, Video, Images and Shopping – stand out and are highly visible on the search page.”

Three key findings of the Searchmetrics Universal Search Study 2013 are:

1. The big rise in Google Shopping PLAs

“One of the findings of our study was the big rise in Google Shopping PLAs featured in Universal Search during 2013. In December 2013 PLAs accounted for around 18% of all Universal Integration types, which appear in search results in absolute terms¹. The overall number of PLAs increased by 200% over 2013. In fact the number of PLAs grew by almost 500% between May and September,” said Tober.

Previously, Shopping as a part of Universal Search was a free service, which allowed retailers of all sizes – even large retail aggregator sites such as Amazon and eBay – to promote products from their sites for free within Google.

In the US, Google Shopping has been a paid for service in beta-version since 2012, and available for all marketers since February 2013. Now, retailers are required to buy PLAs, which incorporate Images, price and other information about products in order to appear as Universal Search Integrations for relevant keyword queries.

“With the introduction of paid Google Shopping, users are no longer directed to the retailers’ product pages directly from shopping integrations, but are first directed to a page within Google itself, where the PLAs are aggregated. This is particularly interesting because Google is no longer giving free promotional opportunities to sites such as
Amazon and eBay through free Shopping integrations,” said Tober.

The rise in Google Shopping integrations over 2013 shows that retailers are buying PLAs in increasing numbers and in turn having their ads show up in searches.

2. Two out of three keyword searches are enhanced with Video integrations

By the end of 2013 Video integrations were appearing for 65% of keyword searches, meaning that Videos appear for more keywords than any other Universal Search Integration (see Table 1). The study also found that one in every two Videos (54%) shown in Universal Search Integrations was hosted on YouTube.

Which integrations appeared for most keyword searches?
1.    Videos: appear for 65% of keywords
2.    Images: appear for 40% of keywords
3.    News: appear for 16% of keywords
4.    Shopping: appear for 6% of keywords
5.    Maps: appear for fewer than 1% of keywords

Note: The table above indicates the percentage of all Universal Search Integrations which included at least one video, image, map, news or shopping integration in searches (based on the millions of keywords analyzed by Searchmetrics). The sum total is greater than 100% because Google often shows more than one Universal Search Integration for the same search query.

During 2013 the percentage of Video integrations from YouTube actually went down 30% according to Searchmetrics’ data, but the site still retains its dominant position with no other Video hosting site appearing in more than 10% of Video integrations. Videos hosted on Vimeo and Daily Motion both account for around 5% of Video integrations each, for example.

“Our study also identified that the average first position for Video integrations from YouTube ranks two places above the average first position of Videos hosted on competitor sites,” said Tober.  So if you want your Video to show up in Universal Search Integrations on Google, then YouTube is still your best bet,” said Tober.

3.  Images are most frequently displayed in Universal Search Integrations

While image integrations appear at least once for 40% of keyword searches, in absolute numbers more images are shown than any other Universal Search Integration item². In fact by the end of 2013, the number of Images accounted for around 45% of all Universal Search content types, in absolute terms (see Table 2).

“When organic search results are enriched with Images, there are usually several displayed at the same time.. However, we noticed that the total number of Images being shown did not rise. This may be due to the fact that Images are now often displayed as a part of the Knowledge Graph at the top of search pages providing less space for Images to be shown as Universal Search Integrations” explained Tober.

Which Universal Search items appear most (in absolute numbers)?
1.    Images: account for 45% of all Universal Search items displayed
2.    Videos: account for 29% of all Universal Search items displayed
3.    PLAs: account for 18% of all Universal Search items displayed
4.    Maps: account for 7% of all Universal Search items displayed
5.    News: account for 1% of all Universal Search items displayed

The data from the study is highlighted in a Searchmetrics infographic and the Searchmetrics White Paper based on its Universal Search study can be found here.

¹ When Google displays Universal Search Integrations it may show more than one item (image, news story, video or PLA). Here we are saying that in absolute numbers PLAs made up 18% of all Universal Search items displayed in December 2013.
² When discussing numbers of Universal Search integration items, we mean the numbers of individual Images, Videos, PLAs, Maps shows in results.

About the Study

Searchmetrics analyzed search results for millions of keywords on between January to December 2013, noting the frequency and type of Universal Integrations displayed. Universal Search in this case being the separate Google Shopping, Maps, Video, News and Image focused insertions that Google displays within its results pages for many searches.

For questions about this press release or the study,please do not hesitate to contact us.