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RKG Q3 2013 Report: Google Spending Growth Stable Through Enhanced Campaigns Transition, Smartphone CPCs Down

October 9, 2013
Columbia, MD

RKG Makes Recommendations for Marketers Heading into Q4

RKG, a leading search and digital marketing agency, today released its Digital Marketing Report covering the third quarter of 2013. Across its client base, which includes over 40 of the top 500 online retailers, RKG found that Google search spending growth was stable at 18% year-over-year, despite advertisers reducing average smartphone cost per click (CPC) in conjunction with the transition to Google’s new Enhanced Campaign model.

RKG has consistently shown a wide range in the value of ad clicks across device types, with smartphones generating an average revenue per click that was 74% lower than desktops in Q3. Utilizing RKG’s upgraded proprietary Adaptive Bid Management technology, and taking advantage of Enhanced Campaigns’ improved ability to capture long-tail traffic, RKG advertisers were able to hit more demanding ROI targets for mobile, while maintaining traffic levels.

For the full third quarter, tablets and smartphones combined to generate 30% of search ad clicks, up from 28% in the prior quarter. With smartphone CPCs reduced from 60% of desktop levels to 35%, mobile spending share was flat from Q2 to Q3 at 24%.

While mobile continues to drive the bulk of search volume growth, with smartphone and tablet spending up 66% and 79% Y/Y on Google respectively, advertisers reinvested gains from their mobile ROI improvement back into desktop, which saw spending growth jump from 1% in Q2 to 10% in Q3.

As marketers head into the all-important holiday season, relevant learnings are to:

  1. Revisit your mobile strategy to invest smartly. New mobile opportunities with Enhanced Campaigns are paying off but you must adjust your strategy to capture better performing mobile traffic.
  2. Have an air-tight Product Listing Ad (PLA) strategy. If you’re a retailer and are not leveraging PLAs, you should be. In Q3 alone, Google PLAs drove 35% of non-brand search clicks.
  3. With Google’s change to secure search, query data is becoming entirely “not provided”. This comes at a critical time for marketers, find solutions – like RKG Blueprint – that can help surface “not provided” query data and help continue to inform your SEO strategy.

For more findings, download the full report at:



The full RKG Digital Marketing Report offers over 40 charts with additional insights and analysis on paid search, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, comparison shopping engines, attribution and more.

Some highlights from the third quarter findings include:

  • Bing Ads spending growth continued to outpace Google at 39% Y/Y. Non-brand click growth of 45% is driving those gains as Bing continues to benefit from improved ad matching technology.
  • Google Product Listings Ads generated 35% of non-brand Google search clicks in Q3. Many large retailers are now devoting over half of their Google search spend to the format.
  • Bing becoming default search option for Siri in iOS 7 showed no impact. Google’s share of paid search clicks is running higher for iOS 7 than iOS 6.
  • Missing or “not provided” query share accelerated at the end of Q3, reaching 80% as Google moved to shift more users to secure search, regardless of their browser or logged-in status.
  • An issue with iOS 6 still led to 11% of Google organic searches being misattributed by web analytics in Q3 despite an increase in that traffic being properly identified. iOS 7 does not appear to suffer from the same problem.
  • Nearly 31% of Yahoo organic search visits occurred on mobile devices, outpacing 30% from Google, potentially highlighting Google’s better ability to monetize mobile.
  • iOS devices accounted for an estimated 19% of organic search visits in Q3. iOS 7 adoption has been brisk, as visits from Apple’s latest OS outpaced those of its predecessor in just two weeks.
  • Facebook’s share of social referrals to sites was 52% in Q3. Pinterest accounted for 14% of attributable social visits.
  • The eBay Commerce Network’s share of CSE clicks grew to 25% in Q3. It has gained share in recent quarters as it has expanded its network of partners.
  • Shopzilla CPCs have remained steady since the introduction of its Smart Pricing model this summer, which featured $4 minimum bids.
  • Email continues to account for the highest percentage of last touch marketing revenue at 37%, but that share has decreased for the last few quarters.


About RKG

RKG is a search and digital marketing agency that combines superior marketing talent with leading edge technology to create the industry’s most effective data-driven digital marketing solutions. RKG drives business to clients by maximizing a full range of opportunities including pay-per-click, SEO, social media, display advertising and comparison shopping engine management services.

Founded in 2003, RKG partners with clients in retail, travel, financial and B2B organizations ranging in size from small startups to Fortune 500 companies, including CareerBuilder, Drugstore.com, Express, Herman Miller, Jones New York and Urban Outfitters. In 2013, Advertising Age ranked RKG the fastest growing search agency. A privately held company, RKG is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA with offices in Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, Bend, OR and Boston, MA. For more information visit www.rimmkaufman.com or follow the company on Twitter @rimmkaufman.

About Merkle

Merkle is a leading data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The agency’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive people-based marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With 7,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 21 additional offices in the US and 33 offices in Europe and APAC. In 2016, the agency joined the Dentsu Aegis Network. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit www.merkle.com.

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