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The Search Agency’s Quarterly State of Paid Search Report Shows Mobile and Tablets Continuing to Drive Paid Search Spend

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – July 18, 2013 – The Search Agency, a global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, today released its State of Paid Search Report, a quarterly report which found that the second quarter of 2013 marks the first quarter ever in which tablet cost-per-clicks (CPCs) exceeded desktops, with the average tablet CPC on Google 1.7% higher than the average CPC on desktop. The report analyzes aggregated client data from various industries to identify paid search marketing trends across search engines and devices on a year-over-year (YoY—Q2 2012 to Q2 2013) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ— Q1 2013 to Q2 2013) basis.

“The shift in consumer search from desktop to smartphones and tablets, coupled with advertiser adoption of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, has caused increased competition for traffic across these new platforms and CPCs to spike,” said Keith Wilson, vice president of agency products at The Search Agency. “As a result, there was a noticeable divide between Google and Bing CPCs, with Bing CPCs experiencing a 1% decline QoQ while Google CPCs increased 21%.” Additional findings from The Search Agency’s State of Paid Search Report include,

Paid Search Spend Increased 16% YoY

  • Overall impressions across all search engines increased 7.5% YoY and 20% QoQ.
  • Search engine clicks increased 5.2% YoY, but decreased 6.4% QoQ.
  • Overall search spend increased 15.8% YoY and 9.7% QoQ.

Google CPCs Up 8.3% YoY, with Largest Increase on Tablets

  • On Google, CPCs showed an increase across every type of device QoQ – computer, mobile and tablet – with the largest increase coming on tablets at 26%.
  • This quarter marks the first time ever in which tablet CPCs on Google are higher than desktop CPCs.
  • Google impressions were up 10.8% YoY and 21.4% QoQ, but the search engine experienced a steep drop in CTR, falling from 3.5% to 2.7% QoQ.

Tablets CPCs May be Up, but Volume Leveling Out

  • Tablet clicks were down 8% QoQ, marking the first quarter in which click volume on tablets has declined.
  • Nonetheless, tablet click volume is still up 62% YoY.
  • The relative decline in clicks QoQ tells a different story: increased impressions and decreased clicks may indicate a shift in matching or query mapping changes at the search engine level.

Smartphones Still Going Strong

  • Smartphones were the only type of device showing an increase in clicks compared with Q1 – up 1.6% QoQ.
  • Smartphones also delivered the largest increase in advertiser spend, up 25% QoQ.
  • While total clicks declined 9.5% YoY on desktops, smartphones clicks increased 107.3% and tablet clicks increased 61.7% YoY.

Real Estate and Construction Industries See Uptick, Specifically on Tablets

  • The real estate and construction verticals saw strong click growth in Q2, with an increase in clicks of 26.1% YOY.
  • Much of this growth was driven by smartphones and tablets, on which clicks were up 172.6% YoY and 124.4% YoY, respectively.

To uncover key trends for the Q2 2013 State of Paid Search Report, The Search Agency extracted client data from search engine advertising tools. The research sample included advertisers who had 15 consecutive months of data with The Search Agency, and had an established and stable business model from Q2 2012 to Q2 2013. All results are based on U.S. campaigns only.

To download the report, go to

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