By Chris Lee
Paid search spend growth on the Bing search engine far outshone Google’s own performance in the first quarter of 2014, according to The Search Agency’s State of Paid Search Report for Q1 2014. The report’s authors found that ad spend on Bing grew 60 per cent in Q1, more than double Google’s 29 per cent growth over the same period.
This increase in spend indicates that Bing is gradually becoming a more appealing network for advertisers to devote spend, The Search Agency argues, in part because of its recent increases in click-through rate (CTR) combined with decreases in cost-per-clicks (CPCs).
Delia Perez, Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy at The Search Agency, believes that Bing’s gains in overall search traffic has proven it to be an appealing alternative to Google for advertisers.
“A number of factors are driving this growth as advertisers are drawn to Bing’s more flexible campaign management tools in the aftermath of Google’s crossover to enhanced campaigns,” she commented. “Advertisers are still adjusting to Google’s bundling of device management and Bing may be the more attractive option because it can be a customisable alternative.”
Total spend across Google and Bing increased from the previous year by more than a third (35 per cent). The overall spend growth was driven by all three device types – desktop, smartphone and tablet – The Search Agency added.
Mobile ad spend continues to grow
The Search Agency’s findings reaffirmed other recent studies that found mobile ad spend to be on a steep upward curve. Ad spend on mobile devices, which includes tablet and smartphone, accounted for 28 per cent of all impressions in Q1, leading The Search Agency to predict that one third of all impressions by the end of 2014 will be mobile.
Smartphone impressions experienced the lion’s share of growth year-on-year, increasing 60 per cent compared to tablet, which also had substantial growth at 42 per cent, while desktop only grew nine per cent. Spend on smartphones, however, grew only 26 per cent year-on-year, a slower growth when compared to the more substantial increase in smartphone impressions.
These trends indicate that, despite increased searches by consumers, many advertisers are still reluctant to allocate spend to smartphones because the search engines still cannot adequately prove the value of smartphone ads.
The Search Agency said we should expect to see a renewed focus by Google this year on cross-device tracking and attribution, which will allow advertisers to capitalise on the increased searches on smartphones.
Increased tablet and smartphone ownership in the UK led to mobile ad spend doubling in 2013, according to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC. As NMK reported recently, this has led experts to warn that advertisers face a fight for attention on mobile platforms.