Why The Yahoo-Bing Network Might Have A Chance

The Yahoo-Bing Network grew 9.6% in Q3 2012 sequentially, surpassing Google's 0.7% growth, according to a report released Tuesday.

While Bing saw sequential gains year-on-year, The Search Agency Q3 State of Paid Search Report released Tuesday found the average cost per click (CPC) across all search engines rose 6% in Q3 2012, compared with the year-ago quarter, but fell 5.6% sequentially.

The report suggests a 4.3% decline in share-of-click traffic compared with the year-ago quarter, falling from 22.3% in Q3 2011 to 21.3% in Q3 2012.

In contrast, Bing saw a slight increase in impression share from 33.7% to 35.2%, respectively. Bing's CPCs fell by 10.5% from $0.57 to $0.51. Google's CPCs fell 3.4% from $0.58 to $0.56.

Click-through rate (CTR) across all search engines increased by 5.1% year-on-year, but fell 1.3% sequentially.

Bing's share of impressions rose from 33.8% in Q3 2011 to 35.2% in Q3 2012. As a result of its weakening CTR, however, click share on Bing declined from 22.3% to 21.3% in the same year-on-year time period.

The Search Agency expects click traffic to rise by more than 30% in Q4 2012, compared with the prior quarter, based on more brands adopting Google Shopping and product listing ads. Google introduced PLAs in 2009 to help advertisers promote products and inventory without additional keywords or ad text.

Naturally, analysis shows that companies increased investments in PLAs. But they did it by 378% in Q3 2012, compared with the prior quarter. Investments rose as well as gains. Many gained a 656% increase in click traffic. The report suggests continued growth and efficacy gains with increasing click-through rates and stable CPC.

Overall in Q3 2012, CTRs rose 25.4% and CPCs fell by 36.5%. Sequential analysis shows PLA CPCs have become more favorable. During Q2 2012, advertisers paid a 25% premium for a PLA relative to text ads. However, in Q3 2012, advertisers saw a 31% discount for a PLA relative to a text ad, according to the report.

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