Search engine marketing saw a 75% drop in growth rate in Q4: Adobe study

Dive Brief:

  • The Adobe Digital Index (ADI) “Q4 2015 Digital Advertising Report” found overall search engine marketing growth is down to 3% compared to 12% in 2014.
  • Meanwhile, global growth is down 75% year-over-year. Per Adobe, the drop can be pinned in part on advertisers spending on mobile search. 
  • The drop is largely due to paid search growth slowing and not necessarily an indication it’s shrinking as a marketing channel, according to Becky Tasker, managing analyst at ADI, who spoke with about the results.

Dive Insight:

One area of SEM is growing – mobile search engine marketing – is up 23% year-over-year. The report also found that Google is catching up with Facebook in display advertising, with both companies showing rising CTRs year-over-year.

Mobile SEM spending is 37% of all SEM spend according to ADI, and mobile browsing now accounts for 41% of all site visits. The two figures illustrate that ad spending and consumer behavior are largely in concert.

Tasker explained to, “The percentages are really close, which indicates to me that advertisers are becoming more aware of what consumers are doing, and they’re trying to align their marketing efforts accordingly.”

Breaking mobile SEM down even further, the report uncovered that tablet share is actually shrinking with smartphones growth up 51% year-over-year.

“The caveat here is that a mobile click doesn’t convert as well once a consumer is on the website,” Tasker told “So marketers should be aware that there’s going to be a gap between traffic and conversion, which means they have to think about how to optimize that.”

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