Paid search trends from Merkle’s Q1 report
Shopping ads are becoming more important for retailers, the new text ad format isn't driving CTR increases, and more findings.
Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q1 points to strong growth from Google and the continued strength of PLAs (Google Product Listing Ads). Expanded text ads have yet to yield promises of CTR gold. Bing and Yahoo’s lack of mobile market share is hampering growth. Here’s a look at some of the key trends from the report. (Keep in mind the data reflects spending from Merkle’s own client base, which skews large retailer.)
AdWords Q1 year-over-year growth outpaced that of Q4
Spending on Google AdWords increased 21 percent year over year in Q1 2017, up from 19 percent in Q4 2016. Click volume increased 20 percent over the previous year. CPCs ticked up 1 percent.
Merkle credits the addition of a fourth mobile text ad, PLAs in image search, Google Maps ads and the return of separate device bids as key contributors to growth over the past year.
Tablet bids fall, mobile bids improve relative to desktop
Tablet bids have steadily declined relative to desktop since Google enabled advertisers to bid separately on the two devices last summer. Merkle says decoupling tablets from desktop helped drive growth, with advertisers able to adjust bids separately for higher-value desktop clicks.
Google AdWords phone and desktop spend increased 51 percent and 12 percent, respectively, while tablet spend fell 23 percent.
Phone CPCs continued to gain ground on desktop in Q1. For non-brand queries, phone CPCs were 43 percent lower than desktop CPCs in Q1, compared to being 51 percent lower in Q4. Tablet CPCs were 25 percent lower than desktop in Q1, down from near-parity in early 2016, when the devices were combined in bidding.