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Paid Search Trends: CPCs Rise, Bing's Market Share Falls in Q4

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The average cost per click (CPC) for paid search ads rose across all search engines in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a recent report from The Search Agency.

The analysis, based on data from US advertisers who ran paid search campaigns in 4Q13, found overall CPC increased 27.6% year over year (from $1.04 to $1.33) and 5.8% quarter over quarter (from $1.25 to $1.33).

Overall paid search spend also increased year over year (YOY), by 37.4%, and quarter over quarter (QOQ), by 6.3%.

Below, additional key findings from the report.


Google vs. Bing

  • Google paid search impressions increased 38% YOY in 4Q13 and 1.1% QOQ.
  • After three quarters of growth in impressions, Bing/Yahoo dropped 7% YOY and 28.9% QOQ.

  • Google's share of paid search impressions reached 84.4% in 4Q13, a 7.6% increase YOY and a 6.6% increase QOQ.
  • Bing/Yahoo has been steadily losing impression share to Google since 1Q13.

Trends by Device

  • Total paid search spend on desktops increased 20.5% YOY and 1.2% QOQ.
  • Total spend on tablets increased 79.8% YOY and 10.7% QOQ.
  • Total spend on smartphones jumped 109.5% YOY and 25.8% QOQ.

About the research: The report was based on The Search Agency client data from 4Q13. All results were from US campaigns.


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Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategy and content consultant. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His experience includes working as a strategist and producer of digital content for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and AOL.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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