I’ve been working in the Paid Search Marketing industry for just over 14 years. In my experience as a PPC Consultant during this time I’ve seen Paid Search grow dramatically. It has expanded from something that companies were wary of, and didn’t want to spend their advertising budget on because they thought it made more sense to spend their time and dollars on gaining organic rankings. Today, it is more widely accepted from both consumers and advertisers. It has earned consumers trust through the serving of very relevant ads which is mostly due to, although I hate to admit it, the policies that paid search engines have put in place to ensure that only real companies that are relevant to a consumer’s search show in the top 4 places above the organic rankings. Many things have changed along the way from Ad Variations, Formats, and even more recently Ad Layout when paid search engines like Google changed the way these ads were shown to the consumers. The ad layout changed so dramatically that it had an extreme effect on client’s overall data making it near impossible to truly compare year-over-year statistics because we were now comparing “Apples to Oranges” instead of “Apples to Apples”. None-the-less, regardless of all the changes that have been made through the years, paid search has grown into the monster that it is today, and the state of paid search marketing and PPC is very strong!
Here are just a few facts to consider when determining whether you should or should not jump into paid search to advertise for your company:
- Internet advertising revenues (“revenues”) in the United States totaled $72.5 billion for the full year of 2016
- Q4 2016 accounted for approximately $21.6 billion (eclipsing the total revenue for the entire fiscal year of 2014, all by itself) and Q3 2016 accounting for approximately $18.2 billion.
- Revenues for the full year of 2016 increased 21.8% over 2015.
* according to the IAB internet advertising revenue report for 2016
The numbers you see above are a result of the increasingly popular Mobile Market in paid search. Through the increased confidence of advertisers in the digital world over the past few years, the increases in revenue over more recent years are a confirmation of the continual deviation in the online marketing world where paid search has been moving from desktop to mobile devices.
Mobile has become so popular that for the first time Mobile has accounted for more that 50% (50.52% according to IAB) of the revenue associated with online advertising. You may find this factoid hard to believe, but if you think about large online companies such as Amazon, Priceline, Expedia and Groupon just name a few… then throw in your large search engines that drive traffic to eCommerce sites like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and all your other large brick and mortar stores that have expanded to online sales as well, and it really doesn’t seem that far-fetched to be honest. I personally remember back in 2008 when, after a few years of preaching about mobile, the media came out and proclaimed that mobile was the way of the future that everyone needed to be ready for it and clean up their sites, make them mobile friendly, and continue to groom your SEO process for what was about to happen in the next year or two. Well, in two years we had only just started to see a push to mobile. Nothing that justified all the talk of rapture that had preceded it. So, people got complacent, and went about business as usually for the most part except for an elite few. In 2010 mobile only accounted for about 0.6% of the overall revenue from online purchases. However, fast forward 2 years to 2012, and we saw mobile’s revenue share jump to over triple that percentage to 3.4%. This is when online companies really started to take notice for the most part in my opinion. Sure, there are going to be people that read this article that say that they saw this coming well before 2012 in which case I’m not referring to you, I just meant for the most part, or the majority of online businesses. Let’s face it, we all aren’t Amazon. The fact is, is that most people wouldn’t even pay attention to a 3-percentage point increase in revenue for most anything. However, if you are a business man or woman you recognized that this was just the beginning of a trend that would continue on for each of the coming years.
…in the graph above you can see that mobile revenue has at least doubled each year since 2010. In 2016 Revenue associated with mobile traffic has grown to over 36% making it accountable for more than 50% of all internet advertising revenue for the first time.
So, you might be asking yourself now “what does this all have to do with why I should be advertising with Bing Ads?” Well it’s simple. I couldn’t explain the “why” to you yet until after I explained the history of online advertising and the revenue accounted with it. I need to show you how small industry trends usually account for large percentage increases over a long period of time. You saw how revenue associated with mobile traffic grew by small percentages at first, but after 6 years it now accounts for just over 50% of all revenue associated with online advertising. So, let me share some numbers with you in regards to Search Revenue with Microsoft Search.
In Q1 of the first fiscal year of 2018 (ending September 30th, 2017) it was reported that Microsoft’s revenue associated with search advertising grew by 15% year-over-year when in previous quarters it had lingered around 10% growth. You may be wondering why it didn’t show substantial growth in the previous quarters. The answer is that Windows 10 was first released in Q1 of the fiscal year 2016.
During the release of Windows 10 Bing Ads saw a large increase but after that there was a fall, or leveling out as I like to call it. Since this “fall” after Windows 10 release we have seen Microsoft’s Search Advertising revenue growth level out at around 10%, but in Q1 of fiscal year 2018 we have now seen the first substantial growth in revenue to 15%. If this turns out to be a trend with Q2 being the holiday season we should start to see search advertising revenue grow for Bing Ads through 2018 and beyond.
It’s time to jump on the Bing train folks, and fine tune your accounts. If you don’t have a Bing Ads account then now is a great time to get one and become familiar with all of the new additions that Bing has been working on in recent years.
By: Ed Cehi, PPC Consultant