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1Q14 Paid Search Trends: Bing's Growth Outpaces Google's

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Paid search spend on Bing grew at a far faster rate than on Google in the first quarter of 2014, allowing Bing to creep up slightly on overall spend share, according to a recent report from The Search Agency.

Thanks to its less competitive bidding environment (lower CPCs), more flexible campaign management tools, and increasingly effective traffic (growing CTRs), spend on the combined Yahoo-Bing platform grew 60% in 1Q14 compared with 1Q13, more than double the 29% year-over-year (YOY) increase of spend on Google.

Overall, Bing gained a small amount of spend share from Google, accounting for 24.1% of the market, an increase of 17.6% YOY.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which based based on data from only US-based paid search campaigns.

1Q14 Trends

Overall, paid search in the first quarter of 2014 experienced solid YOY growth:

  • Total spend was up 35%.
  • Total impressions increased 19%.
  • Click-through rate grew 9.5%.


  • CPCs increased 4.6% YOY in 1Q14, reflecting increased competition in the paid search marketplace as advertisers bid for more competitive keywords.
  • CPCs in 1Q14 declined compared with 4Q13, the most competitive quarter.
  • Desktop and tablet CPCs both increased slightly from the previous year, likely a result of the bidding alliance between desktops and tablets in Google’s enhanced campaigns. Increases from those two device types outweighed the YOY decline in smartphone CPCs, which remain at a discounted rate.

Trends by Device

  • Mobile search, including tablets and smartphones, accounted for 28% of all paid search impressions in 1Q14.
  • The Search Agency projects that mobile will account for 40% of all paid impressions by the end of 2014.
  • Smartphone impressions increased 60% YOY, yet spend and clicks grew at slower rates (26% and 30%, respectively), indicating that many advertisers are still reluctant to allocate money to smartphone ads.
  • Tablet paid search impressions increased 42% in 1Q14, and desktop impressions increased 9%.

About the research: The report was based on data from US campaigns run by The Search Agency.

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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