Merkle (www.merkleinc.com), a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, announced today the release of its Q4 2017 Digital Marketing Report. The report analyzes 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, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, and Instagram. In support of the research findings, Merkle is hosting a complimentary webinar on Thursday, February 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
As the largest digital marketing investment for most brands, Google search ads helped drive strong year-over-year (Y/Y) online ad spending growth in Q4 2017. Search ad spending on Google grew 23% Y/Y, as retail and consumer goods spending rose 24% during the busy holiday shopping season. Google search ad click growth did slow sharply, although average cost-per-click (CPC) growth spiked to 14%. To the benefit of advertisers, this trend shift was met by an improvement in the quality of traffic that Google search ads delivered.
One of the highlights of the Q4 2017 Digital Marketing Report (DMR) is the investment and subsequent growth of Instagram and Amazon. With strong targeting capabilities and the potential to roll out advertising to features, Instagram spend will likely continue to grow meaningfully for the foreseeable future. Investment in Amazon’s two biggest ad formats, Sponsored Product Ads and Headline Search Ads, increased 64% and 75% from Q3 to Q4 2017, respectively.
Product ads were also instrumental in delivering a turnaround in the performance of the Bing Ads platform. Spending on Bing Product Ads grew 43% Y/Y as mobile traffic was over seven times higher in Q4 2017 than in Q4 2016. Altogether, search ad spending across the Bing and Yahoo search ad platforms grew, even as Yahoo lost its status as the default search provider for Firefox.
“As one of the most highly anticipated and frequently cited sources in the industry, The Digital Marketing Report is an invaluable tool for marketers who continue to refine their digital marketing plans for 2018,” said Dalton Dorne, SVP, Marketing for Merkle Americas. “The Q4 2017 report shows an ongoing trend of digital marketing growth. It outlines with unparalleled breadth of analysis, detail, and accuracy the key drivers of performance for Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other major platforms.”