LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/28/14 -- The Search Agency, a global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, today released its quarterly State of Paid Search Report for Q4 2013, which found that after three quarters of sequential growth in impressions, Bing's impressions declined last quarter. Additionally, mobile continued to gain market share over desktop in the quarter, with one-fifth of all clicks coming from smartphones, and one-eighth coming from tablet devices. Overall impressions increased 28.3 percent year over year (YoY), but decreased by 5.2 percent quarter over quarter (QoQ). The quarterly report analyzed aggregated client data from various industries to identify paid search marketing trends across search engines and devices on a year-over-year (YoY -- Q3 2012 to Q4 2013) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ -- Q3 2013 to Q4 2013) basis.
"Bing posted strong numbers early last year, but we saw a marked cooling of growth last quarter," said Delia Perez, senior vice president of marketing strategy, The Search Agency. "As advertisers ramped up their activity around holiday shopping, Google's Product Listing Ads got a boost, which took its toll on Bing."
Additional findings from The Search Agency's State of Paid Search Report include:
Paid search impressions increased 37 percent YoY
YoY, there was an increase in both search spend and overall impressions; with a slight dip in the last quarter (Q4 saw a 5.2 percent decrease in overall search impressions). Clicks on Bing decreased 7.4 percent YoY and 19.7 percent QoQ, compared with Google's increase of 11.3 percent YoY and 5.8 percent QoQ.
Driven by mobile, CPCs continue to rise
Average cost per click (CPC) increased across all search engines in Q4, rising 27.6 percent YoY and 5.8 percent QoQ. Both Google and Bing also saw double-digit growth in CPCs across all three device types (desktop, tablet, smartphone), with the largest growth occurring on smartphones, increasing by 104 percent YoY on Bing, and 25.2 percent on Google. The smartphone CPC discount from desktop remained relatively unchanged YoY, but increased by 49.3 percent QoQ.
Google Reigns Supreme
Google's impression share reached 84.4 percent in Q4, an increase of 7.6 percent YoY and 6.6 percent increase QoQ. The search giant also saw slight increases in spend, 3 percent QoQ, bringing its total share to 83.7 percent of all spending. While Bing's growth significantly slowed in Q4, resulting in a 7% loss of impressions YoY, the engine did see smartphone impression share growth, increasing 158.2 percent YoY, while Google's increased by 21.3.
Product Listing Ads (PLA) See Steep Growth
Total PLA spend saw sharp increases in Q4, increasing by 71 percent QoQ and 164.8 percent YoY. Mobile continues to drive click share, with clicks on PLAs by smartphones increasing by 1589 percent YoY and tablet clicks increasing by 335.7 percent YoY.
Healthcare Sees Big Gains
Growth was not limited to the retail industry in Q4, with the majority of industry sectors experiencing growth. With the launch of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry saw the strongest gains, with impressions in Q4 increasing by 88.4 percent and clicks increasing by 98.3 percent YoY. Smartphone click share also increased 53.3 percent YoY, while tablet share remained relatively constant.
B2B Experiences Mobile Growth
The business services sector's mobile click share growth outpaced healthcare, retail, travel, real estate and consumer services in Q4, increasing by 178.4 percent on smartphones and by 30.9 percent on tablets QoQ.
To uncover key trends for the Q4 2013 State of Paid Search Report, The Search Agency extracted client data from search engine advertising tools. The research sample included advertisers who had 15 consecutive months of data with The Search Agency, and had an established and stable business model from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. All results are based on U.S. campaigns only.
To download the report, go to http://www.thesearchagency.com/classroom/research/.
About The Search Agency
The Search Agency is a global online marketing firm that combines high-tech and high-touch strategies to help clients engage their customers online and measure ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. With a deep-rooted history in paid search and SEO, The Search Agency understands how activity on the web intersects at search, and executes smart digital marketing strategies that drive measurable results across multiple platforms. Services include Paid Search, SEO, Landing Page Optimization, Display Media, Social Media and Comparison Shopping Management, which are strategically leveraged to maximize the efficacy of clients' integrated marketing campaigns. The company is one of the nation's largest and fastest growing search marketing firms -- named the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency by Advertising Age and among Deloitte's 2011 Technology Fast 500. Founded in 2002, The Search Agency has grown to more than 180 employees worldwide with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, and additional offices in San Francisco, East Greenwich, Baltimore, Tampa, London, Sydney, Toronto and Bangalore. For more information, go to http://www.thesearchagency.com.