Search Spend Rises, Ups Click Volume, CTR

U.S. marketers spent 10% more on search campaigns during the third quarter of this year compared with last, and 6% more sequentially. Costs per click year-over-year (YoY) in the quarter rose 14%; click volume fell 3%; and click-through rates (CTR) rose 4%. Impression volume sequentially in the quarter fell 10%.

Kenshoo released analyses on increases and decreases in paid-search ad dollars spent by marketers globally and in the United States, YoY and sequentially during the first three quarters in 2013.

Marketers supported by Kenshoo spent more on paid-search campaigns globally in Q3 2013 -- up 10% YoY, but only 3% sequentially for the quarter. The research looks at investments through the first three quarters. In Q1 2013, investments rose 12% compared with the year-ago quarter; followed in Q2 by 13%. In 2013, sequential investments in Q3 rose 3%; 2% in Q2; but fell 14% in Q1.



Click volume in Q3 2013 rose 3% YoY, but fell 1% sequentially. Costs per click rose 7% YoY, and 4% sequentially. Click-through rates rose 4%, but impression volume share fell 5% sequentially. Kenshoo suggests that optimizing budgets means advertisers will need to monitor CPC and CTR changes specifically by device for a few more quarters before they can fully understand the impact of Google Enhanced Campaigns.

Regionally, in Q3 2013, click-through rates in the Americas rose 117%; Europe, Middle East and Africa, 1.11%, and Asia-Pacific, 1.26%. The Rimm-Kaufman Group numbers show a similar story, but the company's research also analyzes social, content discovery and more, confirming that the results of one media contributes to the success of another.

Marketers suggest the growth in search engine marketers also contributed to investments in other media.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau released this week numbers based on investments in paid search. Deconstructing IAB's figures, Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser calculates total search, mobile and desktop growth closer to "12% YoY in 2Q13, rather than the 6% implied by the headline desktop-only figures." He explains in a research note that if correct it would imply non-search digital media grew 24% YoY in 2Q13."

"On the same basis, our 1Q13 estimate implies 23% YoY growth in ex-search digital advertising," Wieser wrote. "This would represent the fastest sustained rate of growth the industry has experienced since some time in 2006 or 2007, when the industry was half of its present size. Importantly, if we back out our estimates for ad spending at Google and Facebook, we would still derive growth in excess of 20% for the rest of the industry, and backing out Yahoo, AOL and MSN, the remaining third of the industry would therefore be growing by around a third year-over-year."

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