Marin is proud to announce the release of our 2012 Q1 online advertising report. This report, which identifies significant year-over-year paid search trends, was compiled using data from over 1,500 advertisers and agencies who invest over $3.5 billion annually in online advertising through Marin.
At a glance, our study revealed an increase in click-through-rate (CTR), with cost-per-click (CPC) remained relatively steady. More specifically, we found a significant increase in CTR and a drop in CPC on Google. Some of our key findings include:
So what does all this mean? The increase in CTR coupled with a 12% lower CPC points to Marin users increasing their efficiency on Google. This finding is further validated by the increased usage of exact and phrase match type keywords, as users continue to identify and fill gaps using Marin’s keyword expansion tools.
Device targeting, specifically smart phones and tablets, continues to soar in popularity. Increases in click volume give evidence of the growth in consumer adoption. With smart phones and tablets showing higher CTRs and lower CPCs compared to desktops, mobile search should continue to be top of mind for advertisers.
Want to see other Q1 industry trends from 2012 with our recommendations? Download the full report here.
Marin just released its next generation of visualization tools, allowing marketers to quickly spot outliers and trends in data, adding snazzy visuals to PDF reports or for inclusion in performance dashboards. With different chart types to choose from, here are some ways to use each new charting option: Scatter, Bubble, and Pie charts.
Scatter charts help you identify a relationship between two metrics and visualize correlations. Have you found a correlation between average position and click-through rate? We have seen that ads shown directly above organic search results have significantly higher click-through rates than ads that show up on the right side of search results. By identifying these relationships, you can bid to position more strategically, using Marin’s Bid Override to Position.
Bubble charts are similar to scatter charts, but also allow you to plot a third metric (bubble size) to highlight the prominence of that data point. One popular way to use bubble charts is to visualize creative by click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate and clicks, shown below. This bubble chart helps online marketers identify ad creative that have high CTR and low conversion rate, exposing good opportunities for creative testing. In the example below, the largest bubble in the upper-left quadrant represents an enormous opportunity for testing, as shown by the size of the bubble (clicks).
Pie charts allow you to compare the magnitude of one metric across a few items. You may want to compare cost, conversions, profit, or return on investment across all publishers. These types of pie charts are extremely handy when identifying the publisher that is most profitable and where to allocate your ad spend.
We just released our Q4 online advertising report, identifying important trends year over year in online advertising. We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which includes over 1,000 advertisers and agencies that invest over $2.7 billion annually in online advertising.
Overall, our advertisers saw an increase in click-through-rate (CTR) and a decrease in cost-per-click (CPC). But more importantly, we found significant changes in clicks and impressions compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Key findings include:
So, what does all this mean? The big jump in clicks and click through rates in the last year suggests that advertisers are continuing to increase investment in paid-search and consumers are even more engaged with paid search results.
Device targeting is also showing promise as smart phone and tablets become increasingly popular around the world. Based on the growing click share of smart phones and tablets, it seems evident that more and more people are conducting searches on these newer devices. And, these new devices are actually delivering solid performance for search marketers! The chart below compares CTR across devices in Q4 of 2011.
As this trend is growing rapidly, keep device targeting top of mind when planning your 2012 campaigns.
Want to see other Q4 industry trends from 2011 with our recommendations? Download the full report here.
(Note: You will be asked to fill out a short registration form to gain access to the full report.)
About a month ago, Google announced the global roll-out of an update to the AdWords algorithm that increases the value of landing page relevancy and quality when determining Quality Score. Google predicted with these changes, some campaigns would see variations in keyword Quality Scores and ad positions, but most would not see a significant change in overall performance. At Marin, we decided to investigate.
We sampled a population of 240 accounts across our Marin Enterprise client base that had limited average bid movements, consistent keyword counts, and consistently received greater than 1,000 impressions per day. For these 240 accounts, we examined the daily impression-weighted Quality Score at the publisher account level.
From the sample accounts, we observed 12 accounts with an increase in Quality Score greater than 0.25.
When taking a closer look at two of these accounts, we see the spike in Quality Score occurred on 10/2/2011 – 10/4/2011. Furthermore, there was little change to Click-Through Rates during this time, which suggests that the increase in Quality Score was related to the quality of their landing page.
We also identified 15 accounts that had a week-over-week drop in Quality Score of 0.25 or more.
After further investigation into four of these accounts, we see the drop in Quality Score took place between 10/2/2011 – 10/4/2011, with minimal change in Click-Through Rates, indicating these accounts had landing pages that Google deemed to be less relevant, adversely impacting quality.
What our investigation and findings suggest:
One question that’s often asked is whether energy prices impact ecommerce or other online transactions. While it’s a well-known fact that people drive less as gas prices go up, the impact of higher energy costs on online behavior isn’t well understood.
Does the squeeze of higher gas prices reduce online purchases, as consumers cut back on discretionary expenditures? Or alternatively, do cash-strapped consumers buy more online, as they shift spend away from activities that require driving.
In a recent study, we looked at the impact of energy prices on consumer behavior. Our findings indicate that higher energy prices likely change online behavior and could be good news for Google.
For more information on this subject, as well as, specific insights about your industry, download our Q1 2011 Paid Search Research Brief.