Commentary

Q1 Mobile Paid-Search Clicks: Google 28%, Bing 16%

Blackberry-Q10-Smartphone-AMarketers spent 24% more on paid-search ads across all engines in Q1 2013 -- a slight sequential decline from 25% growth in Q4 2012. But you will find the real numbers in the cost per clicks and return on investments, according to a recently released report. The average CPC rose 7% in the quarter and paid clicks rose 15%. Are you keeping score?

If you are, the Rimm-Kaufman Group Digital Marketing Report estimates that marketers spent 20% more for paid-search ads in Q1 2013 on Google compared with the prior year's quarter, with CPCs rising 8%. Marketers spent 48% more on Bing compared with the same quarter in the prior year, as the engine continued to deliver strong impression growth on expanded keyword to query matching, among RKG clients.

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Others have seen similar gains. J.P. Morgan Analyst Doug Anmuth held a call with Rimm-Kaufman Group and Performics earlier this month, where an exec from the latter said U.S. marketers spent 12.4% in the first quarter of this year, with paid clicks rising 10.1% and cost per clicks (CPC) 2.1%, year-on-year. Sequentially, numbers looked flat with 12.3% growth in fourth-quarter 2012, where paid clicks rose 9.5%, and CPCs 2.6%.

Mobile generated 28% of clicks on Google, but just 16% of clicks on Bing. CPCs on tablets eclipsed desktop with marketers spending 162% more compared to the prior-year quarter, according to the RKG report. Smartphone CPCs 190% rose with spend.

Product Listing Ads (PLAs) generated 33% of Google non-brand spend among RKG's client sample. The company makes an interesting observation, however: Competition rose from late adopters coming on board after the Google Shopping transition to a paid model in mid-2012, but return on investment (ROI) for PLAs remains 22% higher than for non-brand text ads.

The report suggests the spending on comparison shopping sites rose 25% in the quarter compared with the prior year, among the RKG clients. Click volume among the paid engines rose 31%.

Shopping.com, prior to eBay rebranding as the Commerce Network, took share by generating 26% of CSE clicks in the first quarter, followed by Shopzilla-Bizrate at 22%. Shopzilla's share has recently declined as their CPCs have risen following the introduction of their Smart Pricing model. 

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