U.S. Paid Search Spend Sees First Drop in Six Years, Mobile Impressions Continue to Rise

Apr 12, 2016


IgnitionOne, a global marketing cloud provider, released its Q1 2016 Digital Marketing Report, demonstrating both steady trends and surprising changes in digital advertising metrics. Q1 marked a drop in U.S. paid search spend for the first time in six years, down 5% year over year (YoY). Mobile continues to be the star of search, demonstrating the largest jump in impressions in several years at 19% year over year. Programmatic display is up 10% YoY, with Facebook dominating Google in growth, up 51%. 

U.S. Google paid search, for the first time since 2009, decreased YoY.  Following a year of strong and steady growth, Q1 2016 saw a decrease of 5% in spend. A drop in CPCs in mobile due to additional advertising real estate and a poor start of the year for financial markets are likely to blame.

Though spend was down for the quarter, US paid search impressions and clicks built on Q4 2015's rebound. In fact, Q1 saw the largest jump in impressions in three years, up 19% YoY while clicks increased 15%. This trend is driven by mobile where impressions and clicks were also both up robustly (73% and 86%).

U.S. programmatic display saw an increase in spend of 10% YoY in Q1. The quarter also saw Facebook again outpacing Google in terms growth, up 51% YoY while Google spend decreased 10% YoY. 

Across a wide range of European clients, we saw an increase in website visitors in Q1 2016, up 12% compared to a year earlier. In an effort to convert these visitors to leads, personalized interactions were served. The interactions increased 56% YoY, driving growth in leads of 22% overall. Additional breakdowns by key verticals (automotive, retail and finance) as well as mobile device usage are included in the report.