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Retail Advertisers Spent $1.44 Billion On U.S. Google Holiday Text Search Ads In 2015

The keywords "black friday 2015" drove $11.7 million in paid-search ad spend during the fourth quarter that same year, ranking it No. 5 in U.S. Google desktop text ad spend among all retail keywords, according to AdGooroo, a Kantar Media company.

Target, Wal-Mart, and JC Penney in aggregate spent more than $33 million in paid-search ads and another $9 million on product listing ads between October and December 2015. Also on that list of heavy spenders: Macy's, Best Buy, Kohl's, Sears, Zappos, Apple, and Nordstrom, estimates AdGooroo.

Retail advertisers spent $1.44 billion on U.S. Google desktop text ads in fourth-quarter 2015, up 24% compared with the year-ago quarter, according to a report titled Preparing for Holiday 2016.

What did retailers get for those millions between October and December in 2015? About 144 million impressions, an average click-through rate of 10.60% at an average cost per click (CPC) of $0.77. AdGooroo estimates that 51 advertisers bid on the phrase "black friday 2015."

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The phrase "black friday cell phone deals" had the most competition, with 111 advertisers bidding on the terms. They spent $77,402 for 425,195 impressions at an average CTR of 4.84% and average CPC of $3.75.

The costliest CPC at $4.16 goes to "black friday phone deals." Some 93 advertisers spent in aggregate $70,284, which garnered 399,982 impressions.

Interestingly, AdGooroo calls out that in the fourth quarter of 2015 there was a $2.5 million difference in spend between "black friday deals" and "black friday sales," even though "black friday deals" had a slightly lower average cost per click than "black friday sales," $1.22 vs. $1.26.

Although "black friday deals" generated a higher average CTR than "black friday sales" at $4.18% vs. 3.25%, the difference surfaced in impressions, with "black friday deals" driving 56 million during the fourth quarter compared with 8.8 million on "black friday sales."

Here's another interesting fact that provides insight into how advertisers think about consumer behavior. The majority of spend on Black Friday keywords in 2015 occurred before and after the week of Black Friday.

In fact 64% of paid-search spend on the 161 Black Friday-specific keywords AdGooroo studied was generated in the weeks before and after the Black Friday weekend in 2015.

When it came to product listing ads (PLAs), 96% fewer advertisers sponsored the top 2,500 retail keywords. PLAs had higher average CTRs and a lower average CPC compared with text ads for the top 2,500 retail keywords in the fourth quarter of 2015. Advertisers spent a total of $80 million on those words in the holiday quarter -- 78% less than the $365 million advertisers spent via desktop text ads, according to the report.

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