Thought Leadership

POV: Q2 2016 Paid Search Trends Report

The Paid Search landscape is changing rapidly and savvy marketers are fully adopting and investing in mobile advertising like never before, perhaps due to increased visibility into the value of these efforts.

Mobile now makes up 49% of all clicks, and mobile and tablet combined contribute an impressive 60% of the total. In Q2 of 2016, impressions were up 161% and clicks up 101%! Despite the discounted mobile CPCs that drove down the price of paid search by -16%, media spend on mobile grew at an impressive 70% due to increased clicks.

To put this in perspective, just one year ago desktop spend was 130% larger than mobile. Now, it is only 22% larger than mobile and this gap continues to decline dramatically each quarter. The increased focus on mobile is not just seen through our client data. Let’s take a look at where Google is focusing their efforts right now. The majority of Google’s investment in their advertising platform has been about benefiting mobile specifically, include additions and enhancements for Shopping Ads, local results, and the underpinnings of cross-device analytics.

We predict the focus on mobile will continue to increase and that we may even see mobile spend outpace desktop spend before 2017.

With Facebook dominating the mobile advertising space in terms of percentage of total revenue (80% of Facebook’s Q4 2015 revenue is attributed to mobile), Google has been eager to showcase their robust cross-device portfolio and massive reach. With the massive scale of Google — across YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Chrome, Play, and Android — Google owns valuable insight into the behavior of more than one billion users in each of those platforms. As Google continues to improve the algorithms behind the Google Graph, this technology will help advertisers more accurately target an individual customer’s cross-device journey, enabling the delivery of truly intent-driven and personalized messages at the exact right moment in time.

Google made several announcements in April regarding updates to Search and Analytics. These changes will drive the next evolution of mobile-centric search strategies. There is an emphasis on not just new ad formats and bidding options, but also on new opportunities to capitalize on consumer intent with location-driven paid ad opportunities.

Following are three updates promising the greatest impact in the latter half of 2016:

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)

ETAs represent the biggest change visible to the consumer since the new ads will deliver 50% more ad copy. ETAs also present a great opportunity for advertisers to further personalize their message to the consumer. We have already recorded double-digit growth in CTRs with the larger and more specific messaging, and we predict this trend will continue as we get closer to holiday.

Updated Device Bidding

Another highly anticipated change is the ability to target mobile users only, a feature that was the norm before the release of Enhanced Campaigns. This is just one more move by Google toward a mobile-first digital strategy.

Local Upgrades

Local search gets even better with a multitude of new enhanced opportunities like Promoted Pins for Google Maps to drive more foot traffic, especially from mobile device search and the Google Maps apps. Second, Location Extensions give campaign managers the ability to work closely with local business managers who want to differentiate their offerings with promotional content whether that is a retail store, dealership or a hotel. Third, Local Inventory Ads use real-time inventory feeds from local stores to create a value-add for customers who need a product as soon as possible. Fourth, the rumored Local 4-pack on mobile will create more opportunity, but also bring in additional competition. Finally, all of these changes and enhancements are wrapped up neatly with the addition of in-store beacon tracking to improve the already valuable Store Visits Metric.

Check out our Q2 Paid Search Report here