Merkle (www.merkleinc.com), a leading data-driven global performance marketing agency, announced the release of its Q3 2016 Digital Marketing Report today. The 20th edition of Merkle’s quarterly report highlights trends across paid search, social media, display, and organic search, while providing highly regarded insights into the performance of major industry players like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
In Q3 2016, Merkle saw advertiser spending growth for Google search ads slowing in the face of strengthening year-ago performance comparisons, but remaining healthy at a 20% year-over-year growth rate. Merkle’s analysis shows that Google’s expansion of local search ads on Google Maps, along with its addition of a fourth, top-of-page ad unit on mobile search results, have helped Google avoid a larger slowdown in search spending growth.
Google also continues to benefit from the strong performance of Google Shopping and the Product Listing Ad (PLA) format. Google PLA clicks grew nearly six times faster than text ad clicks in the third quarter, a result that has been driven by the expansion of PLAs on mobile and to Google search partners such as Yahoo and Google’s own image search property.
Advertisers are seeing less success with one of Google’s highest visibility initiatives in 2016: Expanded Text Ads. Having officially launched in July, the new text ad format has not consistently improved average click-through rates for the most prominent and largest traffic producing Google ads. Instead, the benefits have been confined to ads appearing at the bottom of Google results pages.
Led by Facebook, which saw advertiser spending increase 63% year-over-year across Merkle’s data sample, total display advertising spend growth continued to outpace other channels, seeing a 46% jump compared to a year earlier. Facebook growth was resilient even with the looming sunset of Facebook Exchange (FBX), as advertisers are moving the bulk of their FBX investment to other Facebook ad targeting methods.
Other notable highlights from Merkle’s Q3 2016 Digital Marketing Report include:
Organic Search & Social
Comparison Shopping Engines