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RKG Digital Marketing Report: Q3 2013 Released

We are excited to announce the release of the RKG Digital Marketing Report covering the third quarter of 2013.  The full report features our insights and analysis of over 40 key trends across paid and organic search, social media, comparison shopping engines, attribution and more.

(Click Here to Download the RKG Q3 2013 DMR)

For Q3, 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.

All told, search spending rose 21% year over year for our client sample in Q3, a slight deceleration from Q2 growth. Click volume increased 13% across all engines while average cost per click increased 7%.

Organic Search

Several developments over Q3 had major impacts on how organic search data is seen by marketers. In early August, iOS 6 devices began passing referrers at greater rates, lessening, though not eliminating the amount of Google organic searches being attributed as direct visits.
By mid-August a greater shift emerged as Google began pushing more users to secure search. As a result, organic query data began disappearing at an accelerated rate and (not provided) share soared.
The news wasn’t all bad, as Apple’s iOS 7, released in mid-September, appears not to suffer from the same attribution issues that iOS 6 introduced.

Additional Highlights From This Quarter’s Report

  • 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.

(Click Here to Download the RKG Q3 2013 DMR)

UPDATE (coverage of the DMR in the press):
MediaPost

  • Mark Ballard
    Mark Ballard is Director of Research at RKG.
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