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Merkle Digital Marketing Report: Q1 2016 Released

We are exicted to announce the release of the Merkle Q1 2016 Digital Marketing Report for download. This comprehensive report covers the trends and changes shaping the digital marketing landscape across paid search, display advertising, SEO, social media, and more.

This edition of the report also includes a thorough analysis of the impact of Google's Q1 changes to desktop search results. Additionally, readers will also find Y/Y performance and device metrics by vertical.

Download the Q1 report here.

Here are a few of the trends and analyses included in this quarter's report.

Paid Search

Google Y/Y ad spend growth continued to accelerate in Q1, reaching 25% - the highest figure since Q3 2014. CPC declined 6% Y/Y in aggregate, a result of the rapid rise in mobile traffic share Google has experienced since it made significant changes to the mobile SERP last Q3.

Google Shopping drove much of Google's spend and click growth for the quarter. Product Ads were also a bright spot for Bing, as spend and clicks increased 21% and 29%, respectively.

While Google accounted for 78% of all desktop paid search clicks in Q1, that figure was 95% on phones. Bing Ads accounted for just 1% of all paid search clicks on phones - the fastest growing device type in terms of paid search traffic.

Organic Search & Social

The continued growth of mobile paid search traffic has negatively affected organic visit growth, and phones saw the first Y/Y quarterly decline in organic visits since we began reporting on growth by device.

Just as with paid search, Google accounts for a commanding share of all organic mobile visits at 89%. That figure represents a two point increase from last Q1 despite Google's significant efforts to monetize mobile search traffic over the past year.

Facebook continues to account for a majority of site visits attributed to social media networks, and increased its share from 59% last Q1 to 62% in 2016.

Comparison Shopping Engines

The CSE landscape is now dominated by two major players in Connexity and the eBay Commerce Network, which together accounted for 96% of all spend in Q1.

Advertisers saw significant revenue growth on both of these major CSEs, though the revenue produced on each still paled in comparison to Google Shopping Ads for advertisers investing in all three platforms.


Facebook spend increase 38% Y/Y even as CPC fell 21%, following a Q4 in which spend increased 44% and CPC declined 20%.

The share of Google spend attributed to the Google Display Network declined slightly Y/Y, as paid search spend grew impressively for the quarter.

Find more in the Q1 2016 Digital Marketing Report here.