News and Press

news 01/16/2013

Tablets and Smartphones Driving Most of Advertisers’ Volume Growth

RKG|Rimm-Kaufman Group released its latest Digital Marketing Report covering the fourth quarter of 2012 today.  The report found mobile traffic share reaching 20% of search overall, with volume split nearly evenly between smartphones and tablets.

Facing stiff holiday competition, iOS devices saw their share of mobile traffic slip slightly from quarter to quarter, but still held a commanding 73% share of mobile paid clicks in Q4.  Due to the growth of mobile segment overall, iOS’ share of total paid clicks grew from 12% in Q3 to 14% in Q4.

Over the course of the quarter, the iPad’s share of tablet traffic declined from 88% to just over 84%.  Kindle Fire models held a 5% share at the end of Q4, but delivered a 54% lower ROI to advertisers than the iPad.  Windows 8 tablets failed to gain much traction, with less than 1% of tablet traffic.

All told, tablet spending increased 189% year-over-year, smartphone spending rose 178%, and desktop spending was up 11% among the RKG client base, which includes over 40 of the top 500 internet retailers.  Tablet spending was nearly double that for smartphones due to higher average cost-per-click (CPC).

Within paid search, average cost-per-click for tablets edged up relative to desktop, with the two nearly reaching parity for the quarter.  Smartphone CPCs showed similar movement, but remained 48% lower than those for desktop.

RKG finds Google poised to benefit the most from improvements in mobile CPCs among search engines, as Google generated nearly 27% of its organic searches from mobile devices in Q4.  Yahoo’s mobile share hit 19%, while Bing was a distant third with just 6%.

Although mobile still proved to be a net drag on year-over-year CPC growth,   Google managed to turn around its four quarter streak of CPC declines in Q4 as it faced weaker year ago comps.  Google CPCs increased 3% as its ad clicks rose 14%, leading to a 19% increase in spending.

Bing and Yahoo search spending growth was particularly strong at 54%, as clicks rose 39% and CPCs were 11% higher.  Bing Ads faced weak 2011 comps that showed negative growth, and it had made strides throughout the year to improve its once restrictive ad serving logic.  Bing Ads has gained paid search spend share from Google in each of the last four quarters. 

The full RKG report offers nearly 40 charts with additional insights and analysis on paid search, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, comparison shopping engines, multi-channel attribution and more.

Among their published fourth quarter results, RKG found:

  • Paid search spending rose 23% year over year in Q4 on an 18% increase in traffic and 4% increase in CPC.  This was a slight deceleration from Q3 volume growth, while average CPC rebounded from a 5% decline in Q3.
  • Google Product Listing Ads generated 28% of Google non-brand clicks in Q4.  PLA CPCs remained 26% lower than CPCs for competitive text ads.
  • iOS 6 defaulting to secure search resulted in 10% of organic search traffic being seen as direct by analytics packages.  81% of iOS 6 visits did not pass a referrer.
  • iPad delivered 7.3% of visits, followed by the iPhone at 6.7% and Android devices at 5.2%.
  • Facebook remained the dominant source of referral traffic among social domains in Q4, delivering 7.4% of referrals.  Pinterest was second with an average share of 3.6%.
  • CPMs for the Facebook Exchange were less than half those of the average display ad.  Revenue Per Click was 25% higher.
  • Comparison Shopping spending increased 14% Y/Y in Q4, excluding costs associated with Google PLAs.
  • Amazon Product Ads commanded 25% of CSE spend and were the largest traffic driver among paid engines.
  • Holiday shoppers had an average of 4.3 marketing touches per order in Q4, up from 3.5 in Q3.  At the same time, however, 75% of orders involved touches from just a single channel.

Update: Media Coverage of RKG’s Q4 2012 Digital Marketing Report
Search Engine Land
Internet Retailer

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 with offices in Charlottesville, VA; Bend, OR; Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA.  For more information visit www.rimmkaufman.com or follow the company on Twitter @rimmkaufman.

news 12/20/2012

RKG, along with an IR Top 200 client, are featured in the video ‘The Yahoo! Bing Network is a Search Ad Must-Buy.’

news 12/13/2012

A 26-year veteran of Havas, George Gallate established one of the first global online operations in the industry.

NEW YORK—(December 13, 2012)—George Gallate, who established and ran Havas’s digital network in 1996—one of the first such networks in the advertising industry—and led its expansion globally, is joining digital-marketing and search agency RKG as CEO, effective Jan. 1st.

Gallate, most recently global chairman of Havas Worldwide Digital, will continue to be based in New York. He succeeds RKG co-founder and CEO George Michie, who will take on the role of Chief Marketing Scientist.

RKG is based in Charlottesville, VA, and has offices in Boston, San Francisco and Bend, Ore.

“RKG is a digital marketing leader. A combination of proprietary technology and some of the smartest analysts in the field gives them a deep understanding of real customer intent and the ability to create marketing programs that drive ROI,” said Gallate. “A lot of agencies talk about the intersection of search and social and using data to inform marketing. RKG is doing it.”

A privately held agency, RKG has grown 60 percent within the past year. The agency’s clients include Drugstore.com, Express, Herman Miller, Jones New York, CareerBuilder, Urban Outfitters and Zales.

Though privately held, RKG is one of Google’s largest search agencies globally. RKG’s strength in search marketing is derived from proprietary technology that uses clustering to more effectively bid on and buy search beyond simple search terms.

“Search is an absolute hot button for CMOs because it signals real customer intent, especially on a mobile device,” Gallate added. “Search is about what’s important to an individual in a particular context but social is about what’s important to that person’s family, friends and larger community. It creates a halo of intent and possibility that’s earned, not paid.”

An Australia native, Gallate, 49, began his advertising career in 1984 at Ogilvy & Mather in Sydney, the same year he graduated from the University of New South Wales. Two years later, he joined Euro RSCG Direct. He started one of Euro RSCG’s first digital agencies from his Australian base. Within 10 years he was named regional director for Euro RSCG Asia Pacific.

As early as 1995, Gallate saw the potential for using the Internet as an advertising platform because it could offer a brand-building complement to TV while combining the accountability of direct marketing.
He continued to rise through the ranks at Euro, and during his career he has lived variously in New York, Sydney, Singapore and Shanghai. In 1998, Gallate was named global brand director on the agency’s Intel account, and by 2003, he took the CEO position at Euro RSCG 4D, the digital and direct marketing arm of the agency network.
Since 2006, he has held the global chairman title at Havas Worldwide Digital, which, until March 1, 2012, was known as Euro RSCG.

Most recently Gallate won the global digital IBM and Hershey’s accounts. He also led the global integrated pitch for Intel ASUS, and was involved in Havas’s recent global win of the global Unilever data and CRM business.
“I am delighted to be partnering with George. He brings a tremendous depth of experience in working with large global clients. As the architect of Havas Worldwide Digital, his track record in innovation and driving growth is second to none,” said George Michie, the co-founder and now Chief Marketing Scientist of RKG.

Update: Coverage of George Gallate Joins RKG
The New York Times
BtoB
MediaPost
AgencySpy

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 San Francisco, CA, Bend, OR and Boston, MA. For more information visit www.rimmkaufman.com or follow the company on Twitter @rimmkaufman.

news 11/15/2012

6 Holiday Trend Shifts That Heavily Impact SEM

Anyone involved with online retail should be well aware of just how critical holiday revenues are, not only to a strong fourth quarter, but to our success for the entire year. An RKG analysis of 2011 paid-search results shows that, on average, retailers generated 18% of their annual revenues over the 30 day period starting with Thanksgiving Day, with daily sales volume coming in at nearly triple the rate of the rest of the year.

But, revenue volume isn’t the only metric that shifts significantly during the holiday season, and as we’ll see below, the assumptions and strategies that serve us well for the rest of the year just won’t cut it as we navigate through the holiday peak.

Here are six of the most critical ways historical paid-search trends shift as we hit the holidays:

Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

news 11/15/2012

Continuing to demonstrate strong growth, RKG|Rimm-Kaufman Group has been named to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list for the second year in a row. RKG landed at #403 on the 2012 list, which highlights the fastest growing technology companies in North America based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2007 to 2011. The ranking places RKG as one of the top digital agencies on the list and #51 among the entire Internet category.

In order to qualify for the Technology Fast 500 list, companies must also own proprietary intellectual property or technology. RKG has built and developed sophisticated bidding and marketing campaign management tools, which have helped deliver industry-leading results across its client base.

RKG’s technology has proven to be efficient, flexible and highly scalable, allowing advertisers to turn millions of data points and signals into actionable insights for paid search, SEO, display, social and other online channels.

According to RKG Co-Founder and CEO, George Michie, technology is just one of the drivers of RKG’s success. “While our technologies enable our team to gracefully manage big data sets, it is our exceptional people that truly set us apart,” said Michie. “Without insightful, experienced analysts applying their marketing acumen, even the best marketing tools aren’t going to deliver the kind of performance our clients have come to expect.”
“RKG is excited to make the list for a second year in a row”, added Ryan Gibson, VP of Marketing for RKG. “Growth is not something that we set out to achieve. We’ve worked to provide the best online marketing results for our clients. The growth we’ve experienced is a happy testament to the dedication of our team members and the support our clients have shown us by choosing RKG year after year.”

news 11/08/2012

In SEL’s article ‘3 Mobile Trends Every Search Marketer Must Know,’ RKG’s Mark Ballard is recognized for his findings on the significant differences in ROI for different mobile devices.

news 10/25/2012

Beall’s Department Stores, Inc., a Florida based retailer, announces that they have signed a contract with Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG), a full-service digital marketing firm. As part of the partnership, RKG will deliver integration between channels for Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Attribution Management and Comparison Shopping Engine Management.

RKG offers a complete suite of data-driven online marketing solutions to online businesses and leads the field for performance-driven paid search marketing. Throughout the course of this partnership, both teams will work to expand Beall’s overall organic search traffic, while also improving key metrics profitability, revenue and efficiency across various online channels.

“RKG is excited to help bring the Beall’s Florida experience to more customers through cohesive strategy and execution of their online marketing programs,” said RKG Vice President of Marketing Ryan Gibson. “RKG’s full-service offerings and ability to evaluate complex issues like gauging offline performance seeded by online effort, compliments Beall’s holistic marketing initiatives.”

The announcement in choosing RKG as their digital marketing agency of record represents part of Beall’s ongoing strategic marketing efforts to improve their customers overall online experience.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/10/prweb10055598.htm

news 10/18/2012

Google Disavow Swings Doors Open To Trouble

MediaPost recently covered a blog post by RKG’s Todd McDonald:

“Todd McDonald explains an “unexpected side effect” from Google’s Disavow Link tool. One comment suggests that bad-hat SEOs could buy and use links until they are caught and then ask Google to disavow them. McDonald believes the new tool might have “swung the door open” too much for the link manipulators. He tells us why SEOs that are too aggressive can capitalize on the short term while being even more able to regain footing in the long term. Before this tool, using paid links meant risking a lot. What does it mean now?”

Read the entire blog post here: http://www.rimmkaufman.com/blog/unexpected-side-effect-google-disavow-link-tool/17102012/
news 10/12/2012

Both Search Engine Watch and Internet Retailer shared some of the key findings of RKG’s latest Digital Marketing Report in their recent articles.  Amy Dusto of Internet Retailer mentioned RKG’s study which shows a slowing in growth of Google ad spending for Q3, but noted:

“The slowing may be influenced by the lower prices for now of ads that appear in the new Google Shopping area of Google search results pages, RKG says. The ads in that area, which Google calls Product Listing Ads, cost 15% less per click than comparable ads in search, the agency reports.”

Search Engine Watch’s Miranda Miller also mentioned RKG’s thoughts on the influence of PLAs:

“Click volume on Google grew 28 percent, while CPCs fell 7 percent, said RKG. They note that these figures were heavily influenced by Product Listing Ads and the Google Shopping transition, which have provided incremental traffic, but at a lower average CPC.”

Update: RKG’s Digital Marketing Report Covered by Search Engine Land – http://searchengineland.com/paid-search-study-bings-click-traffic-growing-faster-than-googles-138335

news 10/09/2012

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

RKG|Rimm-Kaufman Group released its latest Digital Marketing Report covering the third quarter of 2012 today.  The report found year-over-year search spend growth continuing to slow for Google, even as the search giant moved to monetize traffic from its previously free Google Shopping listings.

Across its client base, which includes over 40 of the top 500 internet retailers, RKG found same-site spending growth of 18% for Google in Q3, down from 34% in the previous quarter.  Google paid click growth slipped to 21%, while average cost-per-click fell 3%.

RKG Senior Research Analyst Mark Ballard, who oversaw the report, pointed to two key factors to explain the trends, noting that “above all, the year-ago comps have strengthened considerably.  In the third quarter of 2011, Google’s official revenue growth hit a rate not seen for three years before, and not seen since.”  Ballard added, “advertisers are also seeing considerably higher ROI, largely due to the immaturity of the Product Listing Ads marketplace, which drove 20% of Google clicks.”

The RKG report shows click volume from Product Listing Ads (PLAs), the ad format powering Google Shopping results, growing at a rate of 262% in Q3.  But, the report found that to be down from an even stronger growth rate in the prior quarter.  Ballard noted that, “our results may be the exception here.  Our clients were early adopters of this format and have achieved huge growth from it dating back to 2010.  For Google, there may be some upside from those advertisers who have been slow to recognize the importance of this segment.”

In the mobile space, RKG shows tablets nearly tripling their share of paid clicks to 9% and slightly narrowing the CPC gap with desktop to 5%.  Smartphone CPCs remained 54% lower than desktop.  Combined, mobile generated 16% of paid clicks, compared to a 21% share of organic visits, as advertisers sought to limit spending on lower quality smartphone traffic.

The full RKG report offers over 40 charts with additional insights and analysis on paid search, 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.