Zero click search: the new consumer comfort zone


30 second summary:

  • Zero-click search gives advertisers the opportunity to extend budgets during times when the paid search landscape is hypercompetitive
  • Brands can cash in on zero-click searches for the organic element of their overall search strategy to gain exposure and drive conversions
  • Nitin Manhar Dhamelia, Global Digital & Search Marketing Manager of the Barilla Group, recommends the optimization and measurement of zero-click research

Historical context

In 1998, when Google was founded, it served 10,000 searches per day and in 2012 it was 3,500,000,000 searches per day. And in 2021, search volumes continue to explode with Google providing approximately 5,600,000,000 searches globally per day.

Its success in becoming a transitive verb originated when Google took it upon itself to bring order to the chaos of world knowledge. He knew that to achieve this prominent magnitude of awareness, the key would be to create a window on the web that was inclusive, accessible and easy to understand for the general population; he knew inclusion would speed up adoption. Even today, the search giant is always working to improve the consumer search experience, and several key algorithm updates were implemented in 2021: step ranking, page experience, page titles, MUM, mobile indexing- first and more.

Not far in the future, Google will make it even easier for consumers to access brand information. But why?

Micro funnels

Because people visit Google at key decision-making moments along the buyer’s journey, essentially every search session can be considered a micro funnel. After the pandemic, in fact, the great reset does not go away. Nearly 15% of Google search queries that Google participated in were the first of their kind. And 81% of consumers discovered new brands online during the pandemic.

“There is no world where people go back to their 2019 behaviors, and part of that is now part of their comfort zones.” – Corie Barry, CEO, Best Buy

Google’s recent retail report identified four key consumer insights:

  1. Dynamic question: People’s buying patterns will continue to change in response to unpredictable times
  2. Digital inspiration: People will use the internet for inspiration
  3. Convenience: People will prioritize convenience when shopping
  4. Solidarity spending: People will be more aware of how and where they spend their “value” dollars by playing a major influencer

While less popular with advertisers, zero-click searches are areas of opportunity that brands can focus on as part of their brand search strategy.

With great power comes great responsibility

With its ever-active focus on innovation, Google is consistently expected to outshine itself (for the better), and the way it aims to achieve this is to present information in increasingly easy-to-digest and consumer-friendly formats.

Its solution? Bring convenience and comfort into the researcher’s online journey with zero-click search. This means redesigning the search experience to align with a polished consumer journey, which in some cases implies that the journey begins and ends in Google and without a single click in search results:

Squid Game Google zero click search

In terms of how this translates into volumes of research, take a look at the data from an industry study below:

Zero-click search data

What does this mean for brands?

In my research, the breakdown of traffic among the main search marketing channels for a keyword that has a “need” intent is calculated as:

  • Paid: 6.5 percent
  • Organic (above the fold): 31.5%
  • Organic (under the fold): two percent
  • Zero-click searches: 60 percent

Remarkably, the latest issue isn’t too far off an original 2020 study that was done on a much larger sample size than most brand marketers could have immediate access to.

However, when smaller, localized internal studies come up with very similar results, the conversation continues on where we need to focus a portion of our overall research budgets: creating data-driven content that helps add value and top awareness (TOMA) to consumers. .

Brand tips to optimize and measure zero-click search

People also asking (PAA) in Google (essentially FAQs derived from website content in search results) are about six times more likely to appear on a search results page than featured snippets. And therefore, PAA shouldn’t be underestimated as a branding tool. So the first tip is to create editorial content that resides on your website and optimize it for PAA, using long tail search data.

And the second tip is to optimize your content for featured snippets on brand and partner websites – keyword traffic or search traffic information could help you prioritize this activity internally.

Another interesting insight that stood out was: Regardless of the industry, most “big” brands will activate a PAA.

Statistics on the visibility of the PAA box

Zero-click performance measurement

Measuring the impact of zero-click search remains a frequently asked question in itself and an ongoing conundrum that has prevented brands from focusing on this hugely important research aspect. Here are some valuable avenues for search marketers to track the performance of zero-click search features:

1. Understanding relativity

Understand the relationship between impression volume and average ranking for one or more target keywords in the Google search console to create insights into where branded content can trigger a zero-click search result.

2. Keep track of soft metrics

This is where the soft metric shines, so by focusing on the zero click SERP capabilities for the brand’s domains versus those of the competition, you can create an index to track the results and evolution of a soft metric like “intent sharing. “. This will help you grow awareness / consideration of products or services via the zero-click search element of your search strategy.

Putting all this information together and tailoring it to your brand will positively add a new dimension to your search engine marketing strategy.


Nitin Manhar Dhamelia is the Barilla Group’s Global Digital & Search Marketing Manager. Nitin has a 15 year track record of managing global B2B / B2C teams, governance, commercial experience, across the Americas, EMEA, APAC.

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