Commentary

Data Suggests Brands Tie Search To 'Prospecting,' Programmatic Tactics

Reaching new customers using prospecting is on the rise. IgnitionOne note in its Q4 2016 Digital Marketing Report a shift in the amount that marketers spent in targeting ads -- also known as remarketing -- to consumers who have visited a site before, to a greater emphasis on prospecting ads. Remarketing ads came in at 38% of spend YoY during the quarter, with ads reaching potential consumers reaching 62%.

In another important trend, Google continues to lead in YoY programmatic display growth among publishers -- up 43%. Impressions came in at 78%, and eCPMs fell 20%. Following the shutdown of the Facebook Exchange in November, IgnitionOne programmatic display spend analysis no longer includes Facebook.

Nothing is for sure except death and taxes, as the saying goes, but in the fourth quarter of 2016 a flurry of data released by a variety of companies continues to suggest that display and search advertising got a boost from the use of smartphones by consumers.

Smartphones dominate the mobile display market. Android took 59% market share in the quarter, while the iOS operating system took the remainder.

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Smartphone search spend rose to 69% YoY in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2016, pushing up the total amount advertisers spent for the year by 15% following several quarters of a downward slide, according to data from IgnitionOne.

The share in mobile device search spend favored smartphones, accounting for 77%, while tablets took the remaining 23% for mobile.

The digital marketing agency also saw impressions rise 28% and clicks rise 10% during the final quarter of 2016, attributing the uptick to a shift toward mobile and the additional ad space that Google created on both mobile phone and tablet searches. It's important to note that the year-high click rate of 15% occurred in the first quarter of 2016.

Overall, click-through rates fell 15% in the quarter, but the cost per click (CPC) also fell 5% YoY as marketers moved away from branded search terms and experimented with other options.

Overall, the education sector experienced the biggest drop, 27%, when it came to purchasing paid search ads after a third quarter of extremely high spend. Travel also fell 8%, whereas retail rose 11%. 

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