With the success of our first Paid Search Report: Q3 2012 , we decided to go ahead and make this a regular “thing.” The most recent report was put out today for Q4 2012.
The State of Paid Search Report Q4 2012 summarizes current paid search marketing trends across search engines, devices, and industries. Our findings and forecasts are based on year-over-year (YoY) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) analyses of aggregated client data.
The new report found that smartphones and tablets drove 23 percent of total clicks in the fourth quarter of 2012, an 89 percent increase year over year.
“With ongoing advancements and multiple lower priced tablet options being introduced into the market, it’s no surprise traffic on these devices continues to increase,” said Keith Wilson, vice president of agency products. “But, while our
advertisers’ spend on mobile and tablets is increasing, it’s not at the expense of desktop. In fact, data shows that desktop searches remained level over the last two quarters, underscoring the trend that search is steadily growing overall.”
Additional findings include:
Tablets see record searches; surpasses mobile ad spend
The introduction of a number of new tablet models and record sales growth spurred on huge growth in both tablet use and advertiser spend. Tablet click share in Q4 more than doubled YoY and jumped 16 percent from Q3, and smartphones and tablets combined drove 23 percent of total clicks in Q4 2012, an 89 percent increase YoY. The last quarter of 2012 marked the first time in which share of spend on tablets exceeded spend on smartphones (8.5 versus 7.1 percent of total spend).
Google and Yahoo!-Bing Network continue to see growth; Google leads in mobile
Search engine advertising continues to show healthy growth as impressions in Q4 2012 grew 11 percent YoY and total clicks grew 4 percent. Total clicks on Google increased 4 percent YoY and cost per click (CPC) rose 7 percent from $0.55 to $0.59. Bing also showed a 4 percent growth in click traffic, with a 15 percent increase in average CPC YoY. Bing’s mobile impression share and click share increased, but is still substantially less than Google’s impression and click share overall. Google continued to see more paid clicks coming from mobile devices with 25.9 percent of its total clicks coming from tablets and smartphones in Q4, compared to 12.6 percent for Bing.
Product Listings accounted for more than 14 percent of spend on Google
Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continued their strong growth in Q4 2012, accounting for 14 percent of retailers’, who are already running PLA campaigns, total spend on Google in Q4, a 236 percent increase from the previous quarter. Specifically, retailers spent more than 9 percent of their PLA budget on tablets and smartphones, an 80 percent increase from Q3.
Retail surged on mobile during the holidays, but click volume declined YoY
In the retail sector, mobile click share increased from 14.3 percent in Q4 2011 to 26.1 percent in Q4 2012. Retail volume was the driving factor for Q4 growth in comparison to Q3 2012, with a 20 percent increase in click traffic. However, YoY click volume declined 6 percent.
“The holidays brought on big numbers in mobile retail searches but we saw click volume decrease overall – possibly because of uncertainty from the presidential election and the natural disasters that affected the Northeast,” added Wilson.
To uncover key trends for the Q4 2012 State of Paid Search Report, we extracted client data from search engine advertising tools. The research sample included advertisers who had 15 consecutive months of data with The Search Agency, and had an established and stable business model from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012. All results are based on U.S. campaigns only.
To download the full report, which includes in-depth analysis of advertiser performance by vertical, go to http://www.thesearchagency.com/classroom/research/ .