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Merkle released its Digital Marketing Report for Quarter 1, 2018 last month. We elaborate some of the key findings from the report in this post.

You can download the report from here


Growing Paid Search Spend

While the overall paid search spend grew by 21% YoY, Google paid search spend grew 20% YoY. This growth in the ad spend has been attributed to the rising CPCs. The quarter witnessed high CPCs which grew by 13% YoY across ad formats, whereas the clicks grew by 7%.


Google PLA’s Cannibalizing Text Ad Clicks

Q1 witnessed the a spike in the spending on Google Shopping Ads. Considered to be the highest growth observed since last 2 years, PLA’s beat text ads with a 40% YoY growth from 32% in Q4, 2017. The text ads only managed to grow to 4% from 15% growth in last quarter. This growth is attributed to the new ad variations such as the LIAs and Showcase shopping ads

Google PLA spend increase - Merkle

Where LIAs produced 15% of mobile google shopping clicks in this quarter, Showcase ads produced around 3% of the clicks.

This quarter also saw the largest QoQ increase in click share, from 55% in Q4, 2017 to 60% in Q1, 2018, last four years Additionally, PLA’s now account for 82% of the non-brand paid search clicks.


paid search clicks share - google pla



Bing Ads Growth Accredited to PLAs

The overall ad spend of Yahoo an Bing Ads has grown by 35% in the first quarter of 2018. The growth of Bing Ads spend has been as a result of strong click growth of the Product Listing Ads. The PLA spend has increased to 64% in Q1, 2018 with spend on phone product ads growing nearly at 700%.

The clicks increase by 110% YoY in Q1, 2018 and Bing Product Ads share of retailers search ad clicks rose to 33%. The click share is also observed to have been the highest in the past 2 years.


Phones Still Garnering Majority Clicks

The growth observed after the launch of desktop and tablet bids has decelerated at 20% in Q1, 2018, followed with decline in phone spending growth at 33%.

Alternately the combined phone and table paid search click share was  over 60% in Q1, 2018, the highest ever witnessed. Of this phones click share was 51% whereas that of tablet was 9%. The combined spend has started rising again and hit 39%, after the dip due to the launch of desktop and tablet bids.

device paid search share - merkle



The device click share by search ad platform shows phones producing 55% of clicks for Google, 26% for Yahoo and 18% for Bing Ads, being the highest click share gain witnessed by Bing.


Facebook Ad Spend Increases While Impression Drops

Though the ad spend on Facebook increased by 48% YoY, the impressions declined to 5% while the CPM increased at 70% and CPC increased at 10%. On the other hand, Instagram’s impressions doubled to 101% resulting in the ad spend increasing 62% YoY. While the CPC grew at 30% the CPM dropping to 8%


For more insight, here is the link to the full report again.


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