Paid-Search Spending Cools As Advertisers Keep Powder Dry For Holiday Blitz

Paid-search spending cooled in the third quarter after a strong first half of the year, according to a trend report issued this week by iProspect, part of Dentsu Aegis Network. 

According to the report, authored by iProspect’s Alex Funk, senior director, Bought Media Strategy, the softening was partly due to higher prices for paid search clicks and advertisers opting to save budgets for the rapidly approaching holiday push. 

Cost-per-click prices rose 9% year-over-year in Q3, showing a slowdown of the 25%-30%  year-to-year increases in the first half. 

Mobile search activity continued to gain on computer and tablet searches, resulting in a 40% search spend increase and 37% click growth in Q3 versus the year-ago period. 

Despite impressive growth in mobile, overall paid-search click volume was down 6% year-on-year, per the report. 



“The dynamic search landscape continues to challenge advertisers, as the pace of the switch from computer and tablet devices fails to translate to the same amount of traffic on mobile, but that’s changing,” wrote Funk. “As mobile search matures, it’s becoming a versatile tool for providing engagement throughout the consumer journey — from awareness to research and consideration, and finally to direct action, conversion, and revenue.” 

The report also notes a shift from keywords to audiences. One example: Google’s release of the Customer Match feature, which allows digital marketers to include or exclude particular audience lists and develop rich segmentation in paid search.  

“As we move into 2016, paid search will continue to be less about tactical delivery and more about high-level strategy and brand experience,” Funk surmises. 

The report is based on an analysis of 1,300 Google AdWords accounts totaling 135,000 campaigns. More on the report can be accessed here

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