Though the numbers vary, the Q4 reports we’ve covered all point to solid year-over-year increases in paid search spending. Covario’s Q4 analysis of the global paid search advertising landscape is no different. Based on results from their high tech, consumer electronics and retail clients, PPC spending increased 17 percent year-over-year and 13 percent over Q3 2013.
Google’s AdWords accounted for 84 percent of PPC spend and 62 percent of clicks globally. Advertisers increased spending on Google 7 percent year-over-year.
Covario saw the Yahoo Bing Network (YBN) grow at a solid pace. Spending rose 23 percent year-over-year, though just 6 percent quarter-over-quarter. Globally YBN holds 8 percent market share in spend and 6 percent in clicks.
Baidu, the dominant search engine in China, was up 4 percent in spend year-over-year. Baidu held 7 percent of the global market share of spend, 6 percent of all impressions and a (disproportionate but steady) 27 percent of all clicks.
Echoing other reports, Covario also saw click-through rates (CTR) soar. Global CTR rose more than 40 percent quarter-over-quarter and nearly 30 percent year-over-year. However higher CPCs put a ding in click volume growth, which was down a percent, essentially flat year-over-year. Compared to Q3, though, click volume improved by nearly 18 percent as CPCs dipped.
Among Covario’s client set, only Russian search engine Yandex and the Yahoo Bing Network saw year-over-year CPC declines. However, YBN’s CPCs shot up 12 percent quarter-over-quarter.
Google CPCs dipped from Q3, but rose 10 percent from the prior year. “Several factors including the mid-year update to Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, soaring mobile investment and PLA growth has meant anything but stable CPCs,” writes Alex Funk, Director of Digital Media Strategy at Covario and the report’s author.
“Mobile growth continues to soar with astounding, and highly publicized numbers being recorded (e.g., 1.5 million Android activations per day 200 million iOS 7 activations for iPhone and iPad devices). All of these devices add up to more search activity, and the industry is following suit with budgets and click share moving more and more to capture that demand,” writes Funk. Overall, mobile spending grew 23 percent quarter-over-quarter and 55 percent over the prior year, to account for 20 percent of total spending. Smartphones held 34 percent of mobile spend share and tablets 66 percent in Q4.
Mobile CPCs varied by platform, but remained below desktop after the transition to Enhanced Campaigns. Overall smartphone CPCs were 47 percent lower than desktops. Tablet CPCs were 14 percent below desktops.
The report offers detailed performance breakdowns by global region as well as budget allocation recommendations for the coming year. It is available for download here.