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Search spend and ROI continued to grow in the US and UK in Q2, according to new statistics from Adobe.

The Q2 2012 Global Digital Advertising Update shows that digital marketers are continuing to invest in search and are benefitting from falling CPCs (cost per click) on both Google and Bing/Yahoo.

The report also shows that conversions rates on tablets are 20% higher than PC while smartphones lag some way behind.

It also appears that marketers are getting to grips with Facebook advertising, as statistics show that engagement with brand posts is up 84% year-on-year (YoY).


In Q2, search spend increased YoY in the US (13%), UK (18%) and Germany (12%), with the amount spent on Google and Bing/Yahoo staying roughly the same YoY.

ROI also increased in the US (23%) and UK (5%) but Germany saw a 5% decrease.

Click volume on Google declined slightly compared to Q1, but is still up 32% compared to last year. Bing/Yahoo’s click volume is up 26% YoY and managed to regain market share on Google after losing ground in the past two quarters.

Adobe’s report says this may be due to algorithmic changes and lower CPCs.

CPCs on Google continued to decrease, in Q2, falling slightly from Q1 to end 13% down YoY. The report attributes this to “an increase in share of mobile clicks – where CPCs are less expensive.”

Bing/Yahoo’s CPCs also decreased largely thanks to changes in the finance sector, where CPCs dropped considerably from Q1.

Click volume in the UK was flat compared to Q1 but is up 21% on last year, while CPCs were down 1% for the quarter and 11% compared to 2011.

Search by device

Tablet devices continued to prove that they are a marketer’s dream as conversion rates improved again. They are now approximately 20% higher than those of PCs.

Tablet CPC remain below those of PCs, so there is still an opportunity for marketers to drive higher ROI by shifting spend to tablets.

In comparison, smartphone conversion rates in the UK and Germany are 37% lower than on PC.


Overall smartphone and tablet CPCs in the US were 56% and 71% of CPCs for PCs respectively. Both smartphone and tablet CPCs were higher in the financial industry than in the retail.

Because both smartphone CPCs and conversion rates are significantly lower than those for PCs, overall smartphone ROI is similar to ROI on PCs.  

In contrast, tablets have lower CPCs but higher conversion rates, increasing tablet ROI to nearly 70% higher than that of PCs.

Facebook status update

According to the report, engagement with Facebook posts has increased 338% YoY and is up more than 60% since Q1.

It puts this down to the shift to timeline, use of new acquisition and engagement metrics, and more effective social marketing by brands.

Increases in engagement levels in future quarters would indicate that Facebook is becoming a more valuable advertising marketing channel than in the past.

Brands also continued to invest in Facebook to drive fan growth, which increased 21% over Q1 and 84% on 2011. 

But as we all know, it’s not about how many fans you have but what you do with them that counts.

David Moth

Published 25 July, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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