Paid search spend growth held steady in Q4 with 14 percent growth year over year, according to Merkle’s latest Digital Marketing Report. That’s up from 13 percent growth seen in Q3. Google’s many changes, including device separation, helped drive growth.
In Q4, CPCs were off just 0.5 percent, and click volume growth slowed to 15 percent year over year. Mobile phone clicks accounted for 47 percent of clicks, up from 33 percent the year before. Tablet share fell to 9 percent with the device bidding separation. Desktop spend rose after the device separation to 63 percent.
Google paid search spend grew 19 percent year over year in Q4, down slightly from 20 percent growth in Q3. Spending on non-brand, however, rose slightly to 21 percent in Q4.
The biggest Google growth drivers among Merkle’s client set in Q4 were:
What has not had a dramatic impact, so far, are Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). Merkle continued to see mixed results from ETAs. Overall, across the client set included in the report, click-through rates for ETAs when appearing at the top of the page were 1 to 3 percent lower, across all devices, than those of Standard Text Ads. There were CTR increases compared to Standard Text Ads on desktop and tablet when ETAs appeared at the bottom of the page, but that volume represents a small fraction of total ad clicks.
Bing Product Ads showed positive growth in Q2, even as overall spend on Bing and Yahoo was down from the previous year. Combined spend across Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini was off 13 percent year over year, compared to a 14 percent year-over-year decline seen in Q3.
Bing Product Ads helped buoy the overall trend, with spend growth on Product Ads increasing significantly to 16 percent in Q4. Product Ads accounted for 17 percent of Bing search ad clicks among retailers included in the report, up from 15 percent share in Q3.
Text ad spend growth, however, was off by 17 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous year.
Non-brand spend on Bing and Yahoo Gemini fell by 15 percent year over year in Q4; clicks were off by 18 percent and CPCs grew 4 percent on non-brand clicks.
The Digital Marketing Report is available for download (with registration) here with a lot more data and analysis.
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