Google needs Apple so much more than you (probably) realise…
Google gets so much more out of its relationship with Apple than most people recognise – I’d argue that Apple is fundamental to the Android company’s business plan.
Google needs Apple much more than you thought
In fact, I’m not convinced Google would survive were Apple to cease making it the default search engine on iPhones.
Here’s some data from the latest Merkle Digital Marketing Report for 2019 that shows just how important Apple is to Google.
Apple’s privacy effort is hurting Google’s business
Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) is impacting advertisers’ ability to use remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), the report says:
“Google search ad click share for RLSAs hit a nearly two-year low in Q2 2019, as the launches of ITP iterations 2.1 and 2.2 in March and May, respectively, appeared to further diminish RLSAs on Apple devices compared to other browsers.”
Apple’s hardly-used browser is almost half of Google’s business
When it comes to browser deployment, Safari is a minnow. When it comes to Apple device deployment, Apple remains a minor player in a world dominated by Windows and Android – yet the market share belies the quality of the audience the company has made:
“Between mobile and desktop Safari, Apple browsers produced 49% of Google clicks,” the report explains.
Think about that: it means that Apple’s Safari browser accounts for almost half of the ads clicks that compose Google’s business. No wonder Google pays for the right to be there.
The report also reveals:
“Android and iOS devices produced 68% of Google search ad clicks, but just 35% of Microsoft search ad clicks.”
Despite market dominance, iPhone, not Android, is Google’s cash cow
The report also reveals something that surprised me:
Not only is Apple’s Safari driving Google’s business, but Android sort of isn’t.
That’s right, all those billions of second-rate Android phones contribute just 24% of Google clicks in contrast to those from Safari.
Chrome Desktop helps, adding another 23%. Microsoft Edge and Firefox contribute the rest.
The evidence seems pretty clear: Google may be taking all the money out the Android business in the form of ads income and app store dividends, but it still hasn’t really figured out how to convert its market dominance into money.
Perhaps a more customer-centric vision would help?
People are using Duck Duck Go
It’s taken a while, but the message around privacy is beginning to get through.
I believe most people are sick to the eye teeth of being surveilled for political and capital profit, and where they can they’ll vote with their clicking finger.
Perhaps this is why Duck Duck Go saw its share of total US organic search rise from 0.4% in Q2 2018 to 0.6% in Q2 2019.
Sure, that’s tiny in contrast to the market dominating and influencing Google, but it is worth noting that DuckDuckGo was the only major US search engine to deliver site visit growth in Q2 2019, as organic search visits fell 6% overall.
Incidentally, phone-based organic search produced its weakest rate of growth since mid-2016 overall, but DuckDuckGo saw visits grow 64% on mobile devices.
There’s lots more information in the extensive Merkle report which you can download here.