Paid Search

POV: 2016 Q4 Paid Search Trends Report

Last year was marked by the positive evolution and efficient growth of the Paid Search channel. Search engine changes and shifts in internal client strategies were major contributors. From decreased ad inventory on the desktop SERP, to ad format changes, to the continuing evolution of a mobile-first advertising focus and Google’s 2016 AdWords updates – paid search marketers were busy.

In 2016, iProspect clients were able to generate more traffic at a lower cost. This was an ideal outcome and a welcome change from the upward trend in cost-per-click fees that we have seen over the past several years. We noted that brands are seeing even more success from audience segmentation strategies. They are also prioritizing paid search coverage on mobile devices where the majority of searches now take place. Finally, brands have increased their measurement sophistication, which allows for a more complete and effective understanding of the benefits of a mobile-first approach.

Representing 1,300 Google AdWords accounts and over 176,000 active campaigns, our 2016 Q4 Paid Search Report is an analysis and overview of the trends and corresponding opportunities relevant for brands that are taking a strategic, performance-focused approach to paid search marketing.

Following are some key insights and recommendations for 2017:

  • 52% of all paid search traffic is now from mobile devices. Mobile will continue to grow and steadily become the new norm in search advertising.
  • Mobile shopping spend is at an all time high. Recent Google product advancements prove that Shopping ads are profitable not just for advertisers but also for Google. Based on that win-win, we expect to see continued focus on this ad format in 2017 and beyond.
  • Retail trends are being driven by mobile and shopping patterns. As consumers continue to become more comfortable shopping on their phones and as more conversions are attributed to drive-to-store, we will see retailers continue to invest in mobile because they will be able to prove the value more definitively and accurately.
  • B2B customers are using mobile more than ever. In fact, total B2B paid search demand and investment both hit an all-time high in Q4 2016. These spikes were driven largely by mobile, which continues to grow in relation to the overall digital landscape.
  • The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry is closely tracking with retail trends. The category experienced substantial growth in 2016 with budgets increasing through the holiday season. Outside of Google search trends, CPG advertisers are continuing to explore opportunities with Auction-Based Merchandizing through Amazon and Hooklogic. With the use of these additional partners, we expect to see CPG explore additional e-commerce opportunities while continuing to work out how to move the grocery shopping experience online.

We invite you to read all of our findings and act on our key insights today.

Download the full report here.