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Merkle Q3 2016 Digital Marketing Report Released

We are happy to announce that the Merkle Digital Marketing Report for Q3 2016 is now available for download. Now in its 20th edition, our quarterly report highlights trends across paid and organic search, social media, display, and comparison shopping engines, while offering insight into the key performance drivers for the major ad platforms like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

This edition of the report includes over 60 charts including special analyses of two signficant changes that Google has made to its paid search results in recent months: the expansion of local search ads on Google Maps, and the addition of a fourth text ad to the top of phone search results. We also offer an updated analysis on the performance of Google's new Expanded Text Ad format.

Download the report here.

We will also be hosting a webinar on Thursday, October 27th at 2:00pm ET to go through some of the major findings of the report. If you register but miss the live event, we'll send you a recording at the end of the week.

Below is a sample of the data points you will find in our report, but we hope you will download the report to see our full analysis:

Paid Search

  • Google search ad spending grew 20% Y/Y in Q3 2016, down from 22% growth a quarter earlier. Click volume grew 28%, while CPCs fell 6%.
  • Google Shopping (PLA) spending grew 36% Y/Y on a 59% increase in clicks. Google text ad spending rose 9% on 11% higher clicks.
  • Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini combined search ad spending fell 14% Y/Y in Q3 2016, compared to a 17% decline in Q2. Bing Product Ad spending declined 12%, while Gemini’s share of click volume across both platforms remained flat at 17%.
  • Total paid search phone spending increased 134% Y/Y, while both tablet and desktop spending fell 4%. Phones and tablets combined to generate 62% of Google search ad clicks, a five percentage point increase from Q2.

Organic Search & Social

  • Total organic search visits fell 5% Y/Y in Q3 2016, an improvement from a 7% decline in Q2. Phone organic search visits increased 9% Y/Y, the first quarterly increase in 2016, while desktop visits fell 7%.
  • Google organic search visits fell 1% Y/Y as the search engine’s efforts to increase the monetization of its mobile search results continues to depress organic volume. Yahoo organic visits fell 21% Y/Y, while Bing visits fell 2%.
  • Mobile devices produced 48% of organic search visits, up from 46% in Q2, but well below the 57% of paid search clicks that took place on mobile devices.
  • Facebook produced 61% of all site visits generated on social media sites in Q3 2016, which combined to produce 4% of mobile site visits.

Display Advertising

  • Total display and paid social advertising spending rose 46% Y/Y in Q3 2016, with Facebook leading the way with a 63% Y/Y increase. Facebook CPCs continued to decline Y/Y, however, the average CPM rose 38%.
  • The Google Display Network (GDN) accounted for 8% of advertisers’ total Google advertising investment, a small decline from a year earlier.

Comparison Shopping Engines

  • The eBay Commerce Network’s share of total comparison shopping engine (CSE) spending continued to climb, reaching 65% in Q3 2016. Niche CSEs account for 6% of spending, while eBay’s main rival in this space, Connexity, has seen its share fall to 29%.
  • Mobile devices produced just 16% of CSE clicks in Q3 2016, similar to the rate observed in Q2, but well below the over 60% rate for Google Shopping.

Download the Q3 2016 Digital Marketing Report to see our full analysis.