The survey, conducted every six months since February 2016, tallied responses from 1,005 people in the UK by asking ‘Do you know which links on the Google search results page are paid adverts?’

Among the notable results:

  • 58.9% of people answered ‘no’ – an increase of 16.4% on first survey results (Feb 2016 – 50.6% said ‘no’).
  • 65% of those were aged 55-64.

Full results per age group include:

  • 18-24 years = 52.6% said ‘no’

  • 25-34 years = 58.4% said ‘no’

  • 35-44 years = 56.1% said ‘no’

  • 45-54 years = 57.3% said ‘no’

  • 55-64 years = 65.0% said ‘no’

  • 56+ years = 67.8% said ‘no’

“As a Digital Marketing agency, we’re always monitoring Google’s changes to its search engine so at the start of 2016 we decided to run regular surveys to monitor UK-consumer behaviour towards paid adverts,” Tom Vaughton said.

“We are continually surprised by the results but as Google aims to make the adverts less noticeable, people tend to not know the difference between paid ads and organic listings.”

About Varn

Varn is a Digital Marketing Agency based in Bradford on Avon, UK and is run by managing director, Tom Vaughton. Servicing a wide range of SMEs and corporations in a variety of sectors, Varn specialises in SEO, Analytics, PPC and PR.

Contact: Thomas Stocks – or Lucy O’Driscoll –

Address: Varn, The Old Brewery, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1NF.

Tel: +44(0)1225 439 960 | Website:

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