Google Improves Share of Search Engine Ad Spend

January 19, 2011

searchignite-q4-spend-by-engine-jan-2011.JPGGoogle increased its share of search engine advertising spend from Q3 2010 to Q4 2010 by 3%, rising from 80.2% to 82.6%, according to a new white paper from performance marketing firm SearchIgnite. The Q4 2010 US Search Market Report indicates the Yahoo and Bing search engines, tracked as a combined unit by SearchIgnite, only accounted for 17.4% of fourth quarter search spend, down slightly from the previous quarter.

YoY Search Spend Climbs Each Quarter of 2010

searchignite-yoy-search-spend-jan-2011.JPGIn contrast to the year-over-year (YoY) declines experienced in 2009, punctuated by a nearly 10% drop in Q3, YoY search spend based on a same-client basis increased by 18.5% in 2010, setting up a positive start to 2011.

Growth of about 35% in Q4 2010 (see more detail below) brought up the overall average, as increases in the first three quarters ranged from roughly 5% to 15% (based on MarketingCharts estimates of SearchIgnite graphical data).

Q4 Ends Year on High Note

searchignite-q4-changes-jan-2011.JPGIn 2010, Q4 saw particularly strong growth with 35.3% YoY increase in search spend (Q4 2009 YoY search spend was flat). All other underlying metrics in Q4 2010 show positive results, with 20.6% YoY increase in clicks, 2.3% YoY increase in impressions and 17.9% YoY increase in clickthrough rate (CTR).

In particular, search momentum built up throughout the quarter with accelerated spend (YOY Oct +25.4%, Nov +35.3%, Dec +44.8%).

Holiday Season Spurs Higher Retail Spending

searchignite-q4-changes-retail-jan-2011.JPGThe retail vertical reported even greater increases in search spend (36.6% YoY), average order value (AOV, 31.3% YoY) and conversion rates (22.5% YoY) for Q4 2010 based on same retail spend. Consumers are spending more per order compared to the Q4 2009 holiday season, which SearchIgnite says signifies an improvement in consumer sentiment.

Notably, AOV was up 48.3% YoY in December 2010. This is a significant improvement from 2009, when Q4 AOV declined by 13% YoY.

Microsoft Grows Total Core Search Share 6%

The top five rankings for total core search queries and total core search share were identical in December 2010, according to new data from comScore. However, Microsoft was the only search provider that saw its share grow, rising 6% from 11.3% to 12%. Google stayed flat with 64.3% share, while Yahoo lost 2.6%, dropping from 19.3% to 18.5%.

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