Adobe Digital Index’s third-quarter “Global Digital Advertising Report” is pitching a curve ball at advertisers right before the holidays. ADI has found that, while Google’s search ad business performed well for advertisers in the past three months, marketers need to keep their eyes on Bing.
According to ADI, Bing search results are driving higher-quality traffic to sites compared with Google. In addition, retailers are getting higher revenue per visit from Bing-referred traffic than from Google. That said, Google still refers more than 25% of all browser visits to sites in the United States. It also leads in click-through rate (CTR) growth--up 14% year-over-year (YoY), compared with Yahoo/Bing at 8% YoY--and has a lower cost-per-click (CPC) increase, up 4% YoY, compared with Yahoo/Bing at 12% YoY.
“Because of this finding, we think marketers should optimize campaigns on Bing first, so they are getting the higher-quality traffic, and then move to Google for the bulk of the traffic,” said Joe Martin, a senior analyst at ADI.
Marketers continue to increase the amount of money they are spending on SEM ad campaigns. The amount of money being allocated to search advertising is up 22% globally YoY, while search advertisement spending in the United States grew 4% YoY.
Additionally, Europe saw a significant boost in overall SEM spending, up 31% YoY. Great Britain was up 8% over the same time period.
“SEM ad spending varies heavily across different markets,” Martin said. “In order to properly allocate resources, marketers need to keep up with these different changes in SEM ad spend. Otherwise they run the risk of missing budget targets.”
ADI also found that Google’s share of search spend is down 1% YoY, from 71% to 70%. Global search spend is expected to increase 15% in Q4, ADI predicted, mostly due to the holiday shopping season. What’s more, trends show that macroeconomic data, such as weather information, will be the next major factor for maximizing conversion rates, Martin said.
As expected, mobile search-referred traffic continues to increase as well. In fact, 40% of all paid search traffic will come from smartphones by next year.
ADI’s analysis is based on consumer data to brand sites during 2013 and 2014. The data is comprised of aggregate and anonymous data from more than 400 billion non-app browser-referred visits, more than 300 billion Facebook impressions, and 1.05 billion search ad impressions captured by Adobe Social, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Media Optimizer.
The report looked at Google Shopping Ads, otherwise known as product listing ads, which have outperformed SEM spend in Q3. Google's Shopping Ad spend grew 35%, also outperforming other SEM ad spend growth. And, while Shopping Ads currently represent 15% of retail ad spend, ADI expects it to grow to 25% in a year.
In the social space, ADI has found that Facebook is becoming a “pay-to-play” platform for brands, Martin said. Changes to Facebook’s algorithm led to a 50% decrease in organic post impressions, and a 5% increase in paid impressions.
Media companies showed the largest growth in Facebook postings, up 100% YoY. Retail had largest increase in post interactions, up 13% YoY.
“We expect brands to invest more in social during the holiday season as well,” Martin said. “As social becomes a bigger part of the holiday commerce experience, brands and retailers are going to want to make sure their messaging is being seen.”
With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, marketers should keep a keen eye on both search and social spend to ensure optimum return during the most competitive time of the year for consumer dollars.
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
Receive email updates on the latest Adobe Digital Insights Research.