Google consistently conducts experiments with diverse presentations of featured snippets and organic listings, potentially prompting users to click on alternative search results. As a consequence, these shifts in user behavior inevitably impact the clickthrough rate of each listing.
This quarter it’s the industry-level data, as well as some search intent and query length segments that reveal abundant opportunities for the CTR evolution discovery.
On the other hand, the CTR values remained stable on a global scale. Even when the data was split into branded and unbranded queries, no variations exceeding one percentage point were registered.
So let’s dive in and have a look at how user behavior shaped the CTR values in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous one.
We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q2 2023 (April-June interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q1 2023 (January-March). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).
The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.
Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.
The websites ranked first for location queries (containing words such as near, from, nearby, directions, maps, etc.) were affected on both mobile and desktop. On mobile, the increase in CTR equaled 1.54 pp, while on desktop, the ascending trend was even higher, recording a 2.31 pp growth.
In contrast, websites ranked first on commercial queries (containing words such as buy, price, etc.) were negatively impacted this time. More precisely, the drop equaled almost an entire percentage point in CTR on desktop (0.97 pp), while on mobile the decline was 1.75 pp.
Desktop searches for single-word queries showed notable changes only, wherein the websites ranked first experienced a decrease of 1.30 percentage points in their CTR values.
Moving forward, let's shift our focus to the industries section. As we've done in previous quarterly studies, we will analyze the correlation between changes in clickthrough rate and search demand. This analysis will help us make more accurate estimations of potential traffic fluctuations.
The CTR report will consist of two distinct sections, each based on the evolution of search demand.
A. Industries where the search demand increased
It’s been a year already since the Technology & Computing market last recorded fluctuations in clickthrough rate and it was about time for it to make it into this quarter’s report. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop registered a 1.88 pp decrease in CTR, while those ranked in the second position recorded a 1.18 pp drop. On the other hand, the industry’s overall impressions grew, by +6.46%.
The websites ranked first in the Science industry experienced a 1.45 pp increase in CTR on desktop searches. Coupled with a growth of +30.36% in search demand, it’s highly probable that these websites noticed a boost in organic traffic.
And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest decrease in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Personal Finance one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices dropped, on average, by 7.07 pp.
On the other hand, the decline affected the websites ranked in the second position on desktop, as well, which recorded a 1.78 pp drop in CTR.
Websites ranked in the first two positions on mobile searches were also affected, seeing a combined 6.72 pp drop (4.81 pp for those ranked first, and 1.91 pp for those ranked second). On a more positive note, this market registered a +44.06% growth in search demand.
The highest increase in impressions (+65.19%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the Pets market. Nevertheless, the CTR values went in the opposite direction, with the top four websites registering a combined 9.50 pp drop on mobile and an even more impressive 10.55 pp decline on desktop.
With no major changes since Q4 2022, the websites ranked first in the Sports industry recorded a 1.58 pp drop in CTR on desktop and a 1.18 pp decline on mobile devices. However, the total number of impressions grew slightly, by +1.74%.
Good news for the websites in the News sector, which recorded growth on all fronts. With a global +2.74% increase in search demand, websites ranked first registered almost similar increase rates in CTR: a 1.04 pp boost on desktop and a 1.02 pp growth on searches made from mobile devices.
Gladly, people’s interest in Education grew, being translated into a +28.23% increase in impressions. Simultaneously, the websites ranked first for desktop searches registered a 1.84 pp decrease in CTR, while for those ranked in the second position, the drop equaled 1.15 pp.
Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all seven industries mentioned above:
B. Industries that experienced a drop in search demand
The websites ranked in the first three positions in the Family & Parenting market experienced a combined 4.83 pp loss in CTR on desktop (1.45 pp for those ranked first, 2.07 pp for those ranked second, and 1.31 pp for those ranked in the third position). As for the mobile queries, the changes affected the websites ranked third only, which witnessed a 1.37 pp drop in CTR.
At the same time, the industry’s search demand dropped in this second quarter of the year compared to Q1 (-16.62%).
Being the industry to record the highest increase in clickthrough rate in the previous quarter, Law, Government, & Politics experienced contrasting changes this time. Here, on desktop, the websites ranked first witnessed a 1.10 pp loss, while those ranked in the second position experienced a 1.89 pp growth. Surprisingly, on mobile, the websites ranked first weren’t influenced by the changes, while those ranked in the second position registered a 1.27 pp increase in CTR. Simultaneously, during this second quarter, the search demand decreased by -7.75%.
Despite recording the highest decrease in search demand of the quarter (-20.08%), there’s still a glimmer of hope for the websites in the Careers industry. Or, at least for the websites ranked first on mobile searches, which recorded a 2.25 pp increase in clickthrough rate.
It’s time to turn our attention to the industry with the highest increase in clickthrough rate for a single position: Real Estate. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices grew, on average, by a remarkable 5.56 pp. However, the industry’s overall impressions dropped by -5.67% in Q2 compared to Q1.
The clickthrough rate and search demand values went in opposite directions this time around in the Automotive industry. The CTR for the websites ranked first increased by 1.98 pp on mobile, while on desktop, the growth affected both the websites ranked first (a 1.35 pp increase), and those ranked in the second position (a 1.01 pp boost).
Nevertheless, the industry’s overall search demand went in the opposite direction, decreasing by -11.86%.
A similar trend occurred in the Hobbies & Interests industry, where just like in the Automotive market, the very same websites were affected positively, while the impressions dropped. Here, the websites ranked first on mobile recorded a 1.79 pp increase in CTR, while the first two positions on desktop witnessed a combined 2.80 pp boost (1.55 pp for those ranked first, and 1.25 pp for those ranked second).
In reverse, the market’s search demand registered an overall -11.66% drop.
The websites ranked first in the Health & Fitness industry experienced a 1.76 pp loss in CTR on desktop. Coupled with a drop of -13.65% in search demand, it’s highly probable that these websites noticed a slight loss in organic traffic.
Here’s a visual round-up of the CTR evolution for the industries mentioned above:
That’s it for…the second quarter
During the second quarter of 2023, notable fluctuations in clickthrough rate were observed across various industries, as well as impacting commercial, location, and 1-word queries. These shifts could impact website traffic, emphasizing the importance of regularly assessing CTR metrics.
By comparing your website's performance to industry benchmarks, you can uncover areas where improvements can be made to boost your clickthrough rates effectively.
See you with the analysis of the third quarter of the year compiled against this one. Until then, stay safe and healthy!
Dan Popa is an Online Marketing Strategist at Caphyon. He is passionate about both Online and Offline Marketing and he's always looking for new ways of applying the basic principles of marketing in the fast-evolving SEO field. He's always in the mood to chat about new creative ideas for campaigns, so you can find him on Twitter.
stay in the loop