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Merkle Q4 2017 Digital Marketing Report Released

Today, we are pleased to announce the release of the Q4 2017 Merkle Digital Marketing Report for download. Included in the report are key metrics across a variety of digital marketing channels, including SEO, paid search, traditional display advertising, paid social, and more.

Featured below are just a few of the notable highlights from this edition of the report, drawn from the executive summary. For additional insights on what advertisers should be focusing on for major platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Google, and Amazon, download the full Q4 2017 Digital Marketing Report today.

As the largest digital marketing investment for most brands, Google search ads helped drive strong year over year (Y/Y) online ad spending growth in Q4 2017. Search ad spending on Google grew 23% Y/Y, as retail and consumer goods spending rose 24% during the busy holiday shopping season.

Q4 2017 Google Paid Search

Google search ad click growth did slow sharply, however, while average cost per click (CPC) growth spiked to 14%. To the benefit of advertisers, though, this trend shift was met by an improvement in the quality of traffic that Google search ads delivered.

In line with Facebook’s stated expectations that ad load would play a lesser role in the growth of its ad business beginning in the back half of 2017, impressions for Facebook advertisers declined 27% Y/Y in Q4. Spend growth decelerated sharply from 40%+ the first three quarters of the year to 20% in Q4, as increased pricing and higher click-through rate (CTR) both helped to make up for declining impressions, but not enough to maintain previous spending growth rates.

Instagram grew much faster, with significant increases in both inventory and pricing leading to a 122% increase in spend Y/Y. With strong targeting capabilities and the potential to roll out advertising to features such as hashtag follows (which were launched in December), Instagram spend will likely continue to grow meaningfully for the foreseeable future.

Q4 2017 Instagram Growth

Investment in Amazon’s two biggest ad formats, Sponsored Product Ads and Headline Search Ads, increased 64% and 75% from Q3 to Q4 2017, respectively. Those figures represent an acceleration for both ad formats compared to Q3 Q/Q growth, as well as a higher growth than that of Google Shopping.