The Search Agency: CPC Increases Across The Board, Weaker Bing Ads Spend In Q4 2013

The Search Agency released its Quarterly State of Paid Search Report today with Q4 performance data among its client set that spans several industries with global spend. The report shows paid search spend rose 37.4 percent year-over-year.

Mobile Growth Drives Higher CPCs

The Search Agency has reported rising CPCs for several quarters now including large CPC increases during the transition to enhanced campaigns. This quarter, while reports from IgnitionOne, Covario and RKG showed modest fluctuations and mobile CPCs decline in some cases in Q4, The Search Agency reports both Google and Bing also saw double-digit growth in CPCs across all three device types (desktop, tablet, smartphone), with the largest growth occurring on smartphones, increasing by 104 percent year-over-year on Bing, and 25.2 percent on Google.

CPC growth The Search Agency Q4 2013Overall, the average cost per click (CPC) increased across all search engines in Q4, rising 27.6 percent year-over-year and 5.8 percent quarter-over-quarter.

Declines From Bing Ads

In contrast to RKG’s fourth-quarter report which showed spending on Bing Ads rose 43 percent with clicks up 37 percent year-over-year among its client set, The Search Agency reports clicks from Bing Ads among its client set dropped 20 percent after three quarters of growth.

“Bing posted strong numbers early last year, but we saw a marked cooling of growth last quarter,” said Delia Perez, senior vice president of marketing strategy, The Search Agency. “As advertisers ramped up their activity around holiday shopping, Google’s Product Listing Ads got a boost, which took its toll on Bing.”

Bing Ads’ share of spend shrunk to its lowest level in five quarters to 16.3 percent as advertisers moved budgets to Google PLAs in Q4.

Bing Google Spend Shar Q4 2013 The Search AgencyClicks on Bing Ads decreased 7.4 percent year-over-year and 19.7 percent quarter-over-quarter, while clicks on Google AdWords rose 11.3 percent percent year-over-year and 5.8 percent quarter-over-quarter.

Robust Growth in Healthcare and B2B

The Search Agency’s client set includes Healthcare and B2B advertisers, both of which have seen strong growth — and which may account for the variations in findings between agency reports. According to The Search Agency, “With the launch of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry saw the strongest gains, with impressions in Q4 increasing by 88.4 percent and clicks increasing by 98.3 percent YoY. Smartphone click share also increased 53.3 percent YoY, while tablet share remained relatively constant.”

Yet, the B2B sector’s mobile click share growth outpaced healthcare, retail, travel, real estate and consumer services in Q4, increasing by 178.4 percent on smartphones and by 30.9 percent on tablets QoQ.

The full report includes more on PLAs and performance by industry and is available for download here.