What's Best For Brands: Higher Search Impressions, or Lower Cost Per Click and Competition?

First impressions account for a lot, especially when they appear in search results. Higher impressions without conversions, however, don't bode well for higher competition and cost per click (CPC). Google delivered 138% more impressions than the Yahoo-Bing network across six categories in 2014, but CPCs and competition were much lower for brands advertising on the Yahoo-Bing network, per a report released Tuesday.

The AdGooroo report describes the greatest disparity in the Shopping and Classified category, where Google delivered 195% more impressions than the Yahoo-Bing network. The gap was smallest in the Business category, where Google gained 16% more ad impressions than Yahoo-Bing. The six categories include Shopping and Classifieds, Financial Services, Travel, Education, Automotive, and Business.



Competition and CPC, per the report, are two areas where the Yahoo-Bing network offers advertisers an advantage, compared with Google AdWords.

Is it better to have a higher CTR based on a higher CPC, or to have a lower CTR on a lower CPC? For example, had a 5.4% CTR on the Yahoo-Bing network, compared with 4.7% on Google AdWords. The CPC was 20 cents versus 75 cents, respectively, for the same retailer.

JCPenney is one example of many in the report. On average, the CPC on the Yahoo-Bing network cost 42% less than those running on Google across all six categories in 2014. The reason is that Google had nearly double to more than triple the number of brands running ads on its network, compared with Yahoo and Bing in 2014. The higher number of brands advertising means more competition to reach consumers through AdWords.

Interestingly, 32% of brands across the six categories that AdGooroo measured had an ad display on the first search engine results page (SERP) of both Google and the Yahoo-Bing network in 2014. Some 66% exclusively displayed a first SERP ad on Google, and 2% displayed a first SERP ad on Yahoo-Bing.

Which network generated more revenue? Google AdWords generated 769% more revenue than the Yahoo-Bing network across all six categories during the year, per the report.

On average, Google's CTR across all six categories rose 126% higher than those across the Yahoo-Bing network in 2014. The gap has narrowed since AdGooroo's original study in the third quarter of 2012, when Google's average CTR was 265% higher than Yahoo-Bing's. Simply put, Yahoo-Bing CTR rose 175% vs. Google at 65%, from Q3 2012 to 2014.

About 18% of brands advertising in the Shopping and Classifieds on both engines in 2014, experienced a greater CTR on the Yahoo-Bing network, about 16% in the Travel and the Automotive categories. They also said their ads served up higher in search query results, per the AdGooroo report.



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