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Three Compelling UK Paid Search Findings from Q4 2012

By   January 14th, 2013

Smartphones and TabletsMarin Software just released our latest online advertising trends report for Q4 2012 in the UK. As with previous quarters, we built this report using the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which includes over $4.0 billion invested annually in biddable media by advertisers and agencies through the Marin platform. As we are freshly in the New Year, I just wanted share three of the key trends we identified in the UK:

1) Advertisers Investing More on Tablets than Smartphones

According to Ipsos Mori, 50% of adults in the UK own a smartphone while just 13% own a tablet. Yet despite this, we found that advertisers invested more on search ads targeted towards tablets in the fourth quarter. We identified that tablets accounted for 11% of UK search spend, compared to 6% for smartphones. Our findings indicate search ads on tablets have a higher conversion rate than smartphones and a lower cost-per-click (CPC) relative to desktop ads, making them an attractive investment. Prior to the fourth quarter of this year, investment in tablet advertising had lagged that of smartphones. If you are in need of best practices for managing smartphone or tablet campaigns, be sure to check out Gagan Kanwar’s helpful video on this.

2) Clicks & Competition Increase Year Over Year (YoY) on Google

On a YoY basis for Google advertisers, we saw a 24% increase in click volume, a 14% increase in CPC, and a 10% decrease in click-through rate (CTR) during the fourth quarter. This suggests that despite more consumers turning to Google for their festive shopping, more advertisers are increasing their investment on Google PPC advertising as it continues to deliver results during the festive shopping period.

3) Advertisers & Consumers Increase YoY Yahoo & Bing Activity

For Yahoo and Bing advertisers, on a YoY basis, we saw a 25% jump in click volumes accompanied by a 22% increase in CPC and a 13% increase in click-through rate during the fourth quarter. This suggests that consumers increased their usage of Yahoo & Bing during the festive shopping period, whilst advertisers also increased their YoY investment in the combined platform throughout Q4. Interestingly, CTR also increased compared to Google where we saw a decrease in CTR. There could be a number of reasons for this. Despite advertisers increasing their investment in Yahoo & Bing, there might not be an increase in the actual number of advertisers competing for the increased number of clicks, rather the same advertisers boosting their investment. It could also be as a result of Marin’s advertisers improving their keyword targeting or ad creative on the combined Yahoo & Bing platform.

All in all, Q4 2012 saw a large uplift in nearly all key PPC stats, with more consumers taking to search engines to find Christmas gifts, and advertisers investing more money in attracting those consumers via search engines. It will be interesting to see how quickly tablet penetration increases this year. Expect the percentage of search budget allocated towards targeting tablet users to increase alongside the adoption of tablet devices by consumers.

You can download the full Q4 Online Advertising Report for the UK here.