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Merkle Q1 2018 Digital Marketing Report Released

We are excited to announce that the Q1 2018 Merkle Digital Marketing Report is now available for download. The report is complete with key metrics and in-depth analyses on the evolution of developments across a variety of digital marketing channels, including paid search, paid social, SEO, display advertising, and more.

In addition to high level performance indicators, this edition of the report includes data points on the growth of Showcase Shopping Ads, Google Maps ads, and the impact of Google regaining its position as the default search provider for Mozilla browsers. For insights into how to think about these and other developments on Google, Facebook, Amazon and more, download the full Q1 2018 Digital Marketing Report today.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the report drawn from the executive summary.

Still accounting for the most digital advertising dollars of any channel for most brands, Google paid search spend growth slowed in Q1 to 20%, as click growth continued to decelerate for the third straight quarter. Average cost-per-click (CPC) growth once again drove the lion’s share of spend growth with a 13% Y/Y increase for the quarter.

Q1 2018 Google Paid Search Growth

Google text ad CPC growth slowed overall but remained at the second highest rate of any quarter since Q3 2016. Brand keyword CPC growth accelerated from 23% in Q4 to 28% in Q1, continuing a strong reversal of the CPC decline observed for these keywords last Q3 following Google updates to its Ad Rank calculations in May 2017.

In paid social advertising, increased pricing and ad engagement continue to drive Facebook spend up, with 48% Y/Y spend growth for the median advertiser in Q1 despite a 5% decline in impressions. The decline in impressions is in line with Facebook’s expectations that ad load would not play as large a role in driving ad spend growth beginning in the second half of 2017.

Investment on Instagram continued to grow even faster than Facebook, but remains a smaller overall share of paid social spend with just 9% as much spend as Facebook for brands advertising on both. That gap will likely become smaller over the next several quarters as Instagram continues to roll out new advancements.

Q1 2018 Facebook Growth

Amazon advertising continues to grow rapidly, with Sponsored Products and Headline Search Ads spend increasing 96% and 90% Y/Y in Q1, respectively. CPC increased significantly for both formats, and was 128% higher for Headline Search Ads Y/Y as brands are seeing competition for these prominently placed ad units heat up. Sponsored Products accounted for 86% of all Amazon Marketing Services spend for the quarter, up slightly from 85% in Q4.

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