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RKG Digital Marketing Report: Q4 2011 Released

Today we released the RKG Digital Marketing Report for the fourth quarter of 2011, offering data and analysis for paid search, SEO, CSEs, Facebook advertising and more.  We've taken steps to make sure our report is representative of the larger marketing fields covered so that it can serve as a credible benchmark for individual advertisers and offer insights into the numbers the major players like Google and Yahoo end up reporting in their financials. Historically, our approach to quarterly analysis has been a strong predictor of the engines' high-level performance and, if that connection holds, it looks like year-over-year growth in Q4 was the strongest it was for all of 2011.  RKG also takes pride in being on the forefront of uncovering and taking action on subtler industry trends and developments and we've included some of those as well. We hope you'll take the opportunity to download the full Digital Marketing Report, which features nearly 50 charts with our analysis. Among the highlights include: Paid search spend growth accelerated in Q4 to a 31% year over year rate, up from 20.9% in Q3.  Higher click-through rates were the primary driver as impression growth was limited to 5.5% and cost-per-click declined 1.4% Y/Y. Google paid search spend increased 38.5% Y/Y on a 46% increase in clicks.  One of the most interesting metrics in Q4 was CPC, which we saw decline 5.2% on Google.  Google hasn’t reported a CPC decline in eight quarters. Bing and Yahoo non-brand paid search spend fell 6.1% Y/Y in Q4, an improvement from Q3 as 2010 comps weakened. Google increased its search lead over Bing & Yahoo in Q4, generating 86.5% of paid clicks and 83.5% of organic search visits. Mobile, including both smartphones and tablets, contributed 9.6% of paid and organic search traffic for the full fourth quarter of 2011, but surged to 14.2% of paid traffic at the end of the year. Facebook generated 3.6% of referral traffic to sites on average in Q4 and 0.6% of all traffic, speaking to a large growth opportunity.

Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) generated just 1.4% of our clients’ Google spend and 1.3% of their Google revenue in Q4 2010.  This year, PLAs grew sharply to make up 7.5% of Google spend and 8.4% of Google revenues in Q4. For an in depth analysis of these metrics and many others, please download our full report.
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