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RKG Report: Google Search Spend Growth Continues Deceleration, Despite Infusion of Google Shopping Traffic

October 10, 2012
Columbia, MD

Advertisers Faced Stronger Year-Ago Comps in Q3, Achieved Higher ROI

RKG|Rimm-Kaufman Group released its latest search engine optimization (SEO), social media, comparison shopping engines, multi-channel attribution and more.

Among their published results, RKG found:

  • Total same-site paid search spending grew at a 19% year over year rate in Q3 2012. That was down from a 32% growth rate among the same client sample for Q2.
  • Google paid search spending growth decelerated to 18% Y/Y in Q3, down from 34% in Q2. Google paid click growth was 21%, including the traffic infusion from the Google Shopping transition. CPCs were 3% lower Y/Y in Q3, while ROI rose 12% for competitive queries.
  • Paid search spending on Bing and Yahoo combined grew 26% Y/Y in Q3, up from 19% growth in Q2. Click growth accelerated to 14% Y/Y, while CPCs increased 10%.
  • Google’s Product Listing Ads traffic grew 262% Y/Y and provided 20% of Google paid search clicks for the quarter. However, CPCs for PLAs ran 15% lower than those for comparable text ads.
  • Google held a 77% share of organic search visits among RKG SEO clients. Bing and Yahoo each held a share of 10%. In paid search, Google AdWords generated 82% of clicks in Q3, down from 84% in Q2.
  • Facebook’s share of referral traffic remained at 6%, while Pinterest continued to provide a larger share of traffic. Along with Twitter, these social sites accounted for a little less than 1% of all site visits in Q3.
  • Nearly 21% of organic search visits occurred on mobile devices in Q3, up from 18% in Q2. For paid search, 16% of clicks and 11% of ad spend were mobile.
  • Tablet share of paid clicks nearly tripled to 9% and the gap between tablet and desktop CPCs fell to 5%. Smartphone CPCs remained 54% lower than desktop.
  • Among CSEs, Amazon Product Ads has made the largest gains in 2012, seeing its share of clicks increase from around 5% in Q4 2011 to nearly 20% in Q3 2012

RKG attribution data shows there was an average 3.2 non-brand marketing touches per order in Q3, but for 76% of orders, marketing touches were only generated by a single channel.

About RKG RKG is a full-service digital marketing agency that combines superior marketing talent with leading edge technology to create the industry’s most effective data-driven online marketing solutions. Founded in 2003, RKG specializes in working with clients in retail, travel, financial and B2B organizations ranging in size from small startups to Fortune 500 companies. RKG is a privately held company headquartered in Charlottesville, VA with offices in Bend, OR and Boston, MA. For more information visit www.rimmkaufman.com or follow the company on Twitter @rimmkaufman.


About Merkle

Merkle, a dentsu company, is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company 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 company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in consulting, creative, media, analytics, data, identity, CX/commerce, technology, and loyalty & promotions drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With more than 14,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 50+ additional offices throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit www.merkle.com.

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