Google Sees Overall Growth Accelerate in Q2, Yet Still Has Opportunity to Expand PLAs

  Google Sees Overall Growth Accelerate in Q2, Yet Still Has Opportunity to
  Expand PLAs

         RKG, a Merkle Company, Releases Q2 Digital Marketing Report

Business Wire

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- July 15, 2014

Leading full-service digital marketing agency,  RKG, a Merkle company,
released its Digital Marketing Report covering the second quarter of 2014
today. By analyzing data across its client base, which includes 50 of the IR
Top 500 Retailers, RKG’s report provides insight into digital trends for
search, SEO, product listing ads, display advertising, social media,
comparison shopping engines and more.

After a slow start to the calendar year, U.S. paid search spending growth
accelerated during the second quarter. Google saw a 24% increase in ad spend
from Q2 of last year, as Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continue to produce huge
growth, while Bing Ads search spending grew 19% from last year across Bing,
Yahoo, and search partners.

Mobile traffic continues to produce strong growth, while desktop traffic
continues to decline. Smartphone clicks grew by 47% year-over-year, compared
to a 43% increase for tablets and a 2% decline for desktop.

Product Ads Continue to Exhibit Impressive Growth

Image-based product ads continue to see much higher growth than traditional
text ads. Search advertiser spending on product ads in Q2 rose 72% over last
year, while text ad spending grew just 6%. PLA share of total Google clicks
remained steady from last quarter, at 26% of overall paid search clicks and
50% of non-brand clicks.

With Google’s upcoming transition to a new PLA campaign structure next month,
RKG data found that conversion rates continue to be higher for PLAs, resulting
in a 13% higher ROI than text ads, and suggesting continued growth
opportunities for this ad format.

Google Search Partner Volume Declines, Though Opportunity May Exist to Expand
PLA Presence

With Google set to disclose paid click and CPC growth by property for the
first time this earnings season, RKG data from Q2 shows that the contribution
of search partners is on the decline, with their share of Google ad spend
declining by 5% from Q2 of 2013.

RKG data also shows that PLAs are not well-monetized on search partners,
producing just 7% of total search partner clicks, compared to 26% of all
clicks on Although low, this figure is up from near zero last
year, suggesting that Google may be working to increase PLA presence on search
partner sites, potentially leading to further PLA growth.

For advertisers actively advertising on the Google Display Network (GDN) and
running AdWords paid search ads, GDN accounted for 6% of total Google
spending, the same rate as the previous quarter.

Cross-Device Reporting Gives Advertisers Better Insight Into Mobile Value

In anticipating the impact Google’s cross-device estimates may ultimately have
on advertisers’ spending, RKG sees that cross-device tracking surfaces 7% more
orders overall, but 14% more smartphone orders.

While smartphones produce 12% of traditionally tracked conversions, they
contribute nearly 25% of cross-device orders. As improved tracking
capabilities arise, advertisers will increasingly take these figures into
account when setting smartphone ROI targets.

Other Notable Q2 Highlights

Paid Search

  *Google paid search spending grew 24% Y/Y in Q2, as paid clicks rose 13%
    and CPC rose 10%.
  *Bing Ads search spending grew 19% Y/Y, led by a 22% increase in paid
    clicks. Bing Ads CPCs fell 3%, due to a mix shift to mobile.
  *Advertiser spending on Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and Bing Product
    Ads rose 72% over last year.
  *Smartphones generated 19% of paid search clicks and 9% of search spend,
    while tables produced 18% of clicks and 19% of spend.

Organic Search & Social

  *Organic search produced 31% of all site visits in Q2 2014, which was down
    from 36% in the first half of 2013. As the major search engines work to
    better monetize their listings with larger and more appealing ads, organic
    search volume will continue to get squeezed in favor of paid.

Comparison Shopping Engines

  *Share of total CSE spend going to Amazon dropped from 17% in Q2 of last
    year to 9% in Q2 of 2014 as large advertisers were moved out of Amazon
    Product Ads by Amazon, ostensibly to encourage them towards the Amazon
  *Among advertisers running both Amazon Product Ads and Google PLAs, revenue
    volume from Amazon’s program was just 7% that of PLAs, down from 9% in Q1.

Display Advertising

  *For advertisers actively advertising on the Google Display Network (GDN)
    and running AdWords paid search ads, GDN accounted for 6% of total Google
    spending, the same rate as the previous quarter.

Click here to download the full report.

The full RKG Digital Marketing Report offers over 50 charts with additional
insights and analysis on trends in paid search, SEO, social media, product
listing ads, comparison shopping engines, display advertising and more.

About RKG, a Merkle Company

Founded in 2003, RKG is a search and digital marketing agency that combines
superior marketing talent with leading-edge technology to create the
industry’s most effective data-driven digital marketing solutions. RKG drives
business to clients by maximizing a full range of opportunities including paid
search, SEO, product listing ads, social media, display advertising and
comparison shopping engine management services. In 2014, RKG became a part of
Merkle, creating the largest independent search agency. RKG is headquartered
in Charlottesville, VA with offices in Bend, OR and Boston, MA. For more
information visit or follow the company on Twitter

About Merkle

Merkle, a technology enabled, data driven customer relationship marketing
(CRM) firm, is the nation’s largest privately-held agency. For more than 25
years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have
partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. By
combining a complete range of marketing, technical, analytical and creative
disciplines, Merkle works with clients to design, execute and evaluate
connected CRM programs. With more than 2,100 employees, the privately held
corporation is headquartered in Columbia, MD with additional offices in
Boston, Chicago, Denver, Hagerstown, Little Rock, London, Minneapolis,
Montvale, Nanjing, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and
Shanghai. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle, visit or follow the company on Twitter @MerkleCRM.


Dalton Dorné, 434-970-1010 x238
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