“Online Advertising Trends – October through December 2012”
The following report posted below and the charts displayed are my synopsis and summary culled from a 26 page quarterly report provided by the people I work with at Marin Software, Inc. All contents of this blog post on ADM are the property of Marin Software, Inc.
The Research Methodology summary shown below is the best validation for conclusions generated by this report…
The fourth quarter has always proven to be the busiest for marketers — retailers in particular — because of the holiday season. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, advertisers faced increased competition resulting in higher costs per click.
As predicted earlier this year, we saw mobile traffic peak at nearly 22% of all paid search clicks on Google in the US; we saw similar mobile traffic levels in the UK and Australia. We continue to see staggering growth around the adoption of smartphone and tablets for search advertising.
As Marin’s customer base continues to expand globally, we have committed to expanding our analysis into new verticals and geographies to help provide more granular insights for marketers. In this quarterly report we included insights on paid search performance in Australia as well as industry-specific metrics for the Automotive, B2B, Finance, Retail and Travel verticals.
To uncover key trends for the fourth quarter of 2012, we sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which includes global advertisers and agencies that invest over $4.0 billion annually in biddable media through the Marin platform.
The Marin Global Online Advertising Index consists of enterprise-class marketers — larger advertisers and agencies that spend in excess of $1 Million annually on paid-search, display, social and mobile. As such, our data sample and findings skew towards the behavior of larger organizations and includes some of the world’s most sophisticated advertisers.
This study is longitudinal, focusing on a representative set of advertisers who have been active on Marin for the previous five quarters and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) on a year-over-year (YoY) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) basis. Unless otherwise mentioned, all of the analysis in this study refers to trends in the search (versus content) network. Wherever possible, we used medians and indexed values—instead of absolute values—to more clearly highlight overall trends. This allows us to mitigate the effects of outliers and make the findings more representative of the performance of the typical Marin client.
For the Q4 2012 report, Marin refreshed our client index data pool. This could result in slight deviations from previously reported data but makes for more representative analysis and findings.
1. Overall Performance: On an annual basis, US advertisers saw paid search click volume rise by 31% accompanied by a 38% increase in impression volume. The higher impression volume may indicate the continued growth of paid search as marketers shift more of their advertising dollars online. Cost per click (CPC) increased from $0.96 in Q3 2012 to $1.01 in Q4 2012 — the higher CPC likely attributable to the increased competition over the holiday season. Marketers
saw a lower click through rate (CTR) year on year versus Q4 2011.
2. Google Maintains its Market Share for Search Spend: According to Comscore, 67.0% of all US-based search queries were conducted on Google during November 2012. During this same period, Yahoo! was at 12.1% and Microsoft at 16.2%. In light of having 67.0% of the overall US search volume, Google monetized its searches more effectively — accounting for 80% of paid search spend and 78% of all paid-clicks during the same period.
On a year-over-year basis for Google, we saw significant increases in click and impression volumes. Quarter over quarter, the average CPC increased by 11% — indicating increased competition over the holiday season.
On Yahoo and Bing, advertisers saw marked improvement in clicks. On a year-over-year basis, advertisers saw 25% higher click volumes along with a 22% jump in CPC and a 13% increase in the average CTR.
3. Industry Specific Trends: While it’s helpful to understand the broader context of how paid search is evolving at a macro level, the reality is that different industries can demonstrate fundamentally different trends. To that end, we looked at the behavior of seven different industries and uncovered some varying trends. This section provides insights on representative values for CTR and CPC across seven verticals to uncover industry-specific trends for key metrics in the
fourth quarter of 2012.
The Automotive vertical is the first bar on the left for each of the two charts shown below…
The four charts displayed below are specific to the Automotive vertical…
4. Device Targeting and Performance: While Desktops and Laptop computers still command the vast majority of search spend, we continue to see positive trends as marketers explore new platforms to extend their reach. Device targeting, in particular, is showing that smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular around the world. To provide context around usage patterns and spend allocation, the charts below show how click and spend share was segmented across our client base during the fourth quarter of 2012.
Smartphone and tablet devices accounted for a 22% share of clicks and 17% share of spend. Growth in consumer adoption has been a strong driver of click volume growth on mobile devices. Additionally, spend allocations on mobile devices are growing quickly as marketers realize solid performance across both smartphones and tablets. The following charts compare CTR and CPC across desktops, smartphones, and tablets for the fourth quarter of 2012.
While device targeting may not be relevant for all advertisers, marketers should evaluate their target demographic and, where appropriate, leverage the performance and cost effectiveness of targeting ads to tablet or smartphone users.
Across geographies, the CTR from Facebook campaigns is comparable. In regards to cost, advertisers in Australia experience a higher average CPC than their counterparts in the rest of the world.
Compared to the average CPC of paid search advertising, Facebook is seemingly a less expensive alternative, offering creative advertising options outside of the traditional search and display.
Additionally, with the release of mobile-specific targeting for Facebook ads, advertisers are starting to see a higher CTR for mobile ads versus desktop ads. We’ll continue to monitor this trend as more advertisers adopt the mobile-placement option on Facebook.
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by Ralph Paglia