QUICK HIT: Ad Engagement Explodes in Q4 at Marin Software

Marin Software  has released research (Q4 2017 Digital Benchmark Report) showing a 75% increase in user engagement (measured by click-through rate) on paid search ads among its clients.

While much of the change has likely been driven by changes to the ad ecosystem itself (and the many new capabilities on networks like Google and Facebook), it is becoming increasingly clear that advertisers are indeed willing to pay a premium for increased consumer activity.

According to Marin's research, advertisers spent 10% more on their search ad campaigns in Q4 2017 than they did in Q4 2016. The company suggests, however, that there is still room for improvement, and advertisers are continually seeking out new strategies to ensure their investment maximizes performance.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • At 53% of spend, mobile CPCs increased 25% YoY. While mobile CPCs remain discounted relative to desktop CPCs, the gap is closing rapidly. Marin suggested that advertisers should utlize mobile bid adjustments, but remain mindful that discounted CPCs on mobile will soon dissipate.
  • CPMs increased 44% YoY, indicating that competition for consumer attention is heating up on social channels. Click-through rates have remained relatively flat YoY, however, which Marin Software suggests may indicate creative personalization isn't keeping pace with consumer expectations.
  • There was a slight shift (3%) away from creative-heavy ad groups to creative-light ad groups in Q4 2017. Advertisers have an opportunity to benefit from Google's machine learning technology underpinning the newly released "optimize" ad rotation setting.
  • Just 24% of advertisers have an audience KPI, despite the strong campaign performance advantage that combining audiences with keyword targeting provides.