US, B2B Paid Search Gets Costlier as Click Rates Drop [study]

B2B Paid Search Trends April 2013
The Search Agency has released an analysis of paid search trends in the US in Q1 2013 across devices and verticals. Looking at the B2B vertical, the study finds that impressions rose 27.2% year-over-year, while clicks stayed flat. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, impressions were up 35.5% and clicks up 15.6%. The data also reveals that while click-through rates grew by 16% year-over-year on average for all industries (to 3.15%), B2B companies saw a 21.6% drop (to 2.07%).

As click rates dropped, costs trended upwards, with average cost-per-click (CPC) for B2B advertisers up 43.4% (to $2.20), compared with a more moderate 8.6% rise among all advertisers (to $0.76).

The study contains a host of other findings, many of which can be summarized in one sentence: mobile devices are becoming more influential in paid search. For a sampling of further details, read on:

  • Overall paid search impressions dropped by 4% while CTR climbed 15%, leading to an 11.7% increase in clicks. Total spending grew by 21.6% year-over-year on the back of an 8.8% rise in CPCs.
  • Google spending grew by 17%, though that trailed Bing’s increase of 42%.
  • 21.6% of search budgets went to smartphones (11.6%) and tablets (10%), up 59% year-over-year, a trend consistent with every other report on paid search. Overall, spending on smartphones grew by 68%, and on tablets by 135%.
  • Smartphone impressions rose by 96% year-over-year, and tablet impressions by 74%. Smartphone clicks were up 86% and tablet clicks 98%.
  • Smartphones (14.6%) and tablets (11.1%) combined to account for about 1 in 4 paid search clicks in Q1, up from 15.1% in Q1 2012.
  • CTR was highest on tablets (4.3%), followed by smartphones (3.8%) and desktops (2.9%). But CPCs were highest on desktops ($0.81), followed by tablets ($0.69) and smartphones ($0.60).
  • Google’s tablet CPC discount from desktops decreased by 26.3% year-over-year.

About the Data: The sample included advertisers who had fifteen consecutive months of data with The Search Agency and an established and stable business model from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. All results are based on US campaigns only.-MarketingCharts

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