U.S. marketers spent 9% more on paid-search advertising campaigns in Q2 2014, compared with the prior year. Impressions fell slightly to 24%. The IgnitionOne Q2 2014 marketing report points to contributors like innovations in ad extensions, image ads, and advertisers pulling out of search partner networks, secondary partner sites showing the search providers’ results and ads, such as AOL.
Overall, impressions on Google rose 12% in Q2 2014; clicks, 25%; click-through rates (CTR), 12%; and cost per click (CPC), 18% on about 48% more advertising dollars compared with the year-ago quarter, among IgnitionOne clients. Impressions on the Yahoo Bing network rose 19% in Q2 2014; clicks, 45%; CTR, 22%; and CPC, 6% on about 53% more advertising dollars compared with the year-ago quarter.
Marketers spent nearly the same amount for smartphone paid-search campaigns as they did on tablets. Both mobile devices now contribute about 27% of total U.S. search spend. Marketers spent 47% more on tablets in the quarter compared with the year-ago quarter, but spending to run campaigns on smartphones rose 173%.
Smartphone impressions jumped 166% and clicks reached 138%, but click-through rates fell 11%. The cost per click (CPC) rose 15% compared with the year-ago quarter. Tablets didn't fluctuate as much. Impressions rose 7%; clicks, 28%; spend 47%, CTR, 19%; and CPC, 15%.
The Yahoo-Bing network saw CPCs on smartphones fall 6% in the quarter, YoY, while Google rose 27%. IgnitionOne attributes the decline to "search queries growing faster than advertising dollars, resulting in too few ads for queries."
Product listing ads (PLAs) made up 24% of all clicks in Q2 104, 27% of all impressions and 32% of all search spend. They garnered 41% higher CTR than paid search and 11% lower cost per click (CPC).
The IgnitionOne study notes a rapid move away from advertising on search partner sites because advertisers have found that it is less efficient with fewer, more expensive click-through rates. "The difference in efficiency on Google is likely due to how quality score is calculated separately for their partner sites," per the study. "The lower CTR causes a drop in quality score, which in turn causes an increase in cost."
Performance impressions on partner sites fell 37%, followed by clicks at 27% YoY due to the decrease in efficiency with almost all metrics down when compared with the main search sites. Search network average CTR was 7.0% with a $0.61 CTR, compared with partner sites at 0.8% and $0.75, respectively.
Facebook Exchange (FBX) took about 18% of display ad spend in the quarter, up from 8% in Q2 2013, per the report. FBX served about 42% of programmatic display impressions, generating 66% of clicks and 36% of conversions. The social site also continues to grow tighter with search companies, such as Kenshoo, which Facebook named a winner in its innovation competition honoring Preferred Marketing Developers.