Paid Search Spending Grows Across the Globe

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 16 Oct, 2012

Marketers across the globe are putting more dollars into pay-per-click advertising campaigns, according to a new report from Covario.


The search marketing agency announced the results of its third quarter Global Paid Search Spend Analysis, which reveal that global paid search spending grew 33 percent over the same period last year, and 6 percent above 2012's second quarter results.


The report shows that the Americas (led by the U.S. and Canada) saw PPC ad spend grow 39 percent compared to the same time last year, while Europe only saw an increase of 10 percent year-over-year. Additionally, although the Asia/Pacific region saw year-over-year search spend growth come in at 45 percent, the quarter-on-quarter growth declined to 7 percent.


The report also included a cost-per-click (CPC) analysis of the major search engines, which shows that keyword pricing increased on a global basis for the second consecutive quarter.


"Across all of the search engines, the combination of a 4 percent increase in click-through rates and a 12 percent increase in CPCs suggest that keyword pricing in conjunction with higher performing ad formats - and not volume - has largely been responsible for the sequential growth," said Alex Funk, the global performance media strategist at Covario.


The report found that Google continues to control 87 percent of the paid search spend market share, with third quarter advertiser search spending increasing 34 percent from a year ago and 8 percent from the second quarter. Additionally, the Yahoo-Bing Network, which has 10 percent of the global search spend market share, steadily grew with spending on its platform increasing 25 percent year-over-year and 5 percent quarter-over-quarter. 


Conversely, China's popular search engine, Baidu, saw a spending increase of 55 percent year-over-year, however, it experienced a 20 percent search spend decrease from the second quarter. That being said, Funk reports that in the third quarter Baidu accounted for about 5 percent of global PPC spending as well as "an incredible" 26 percent of the world's clicks.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the most interesting metrics of the study revolve around mobile devices, like smartphones and tablet PCs. In fact, the report found that global spending on paid search advertising for these devices increased by 17 percent in the third quarter versus the previous quarter, and by 90 percent year-over-year. And, for the first time, Funk claims that CPCs for tablets received a 1 percentage point edge in the third quarter over desktop CPCs. According to Funk, this increase could be attributed to Google's advertising default opt-in to desktops and tablets, in addition to a higher degree of user engagement, content consumption and consumer purchase affinity on the tablet platform.