UK search spend increases for third quarter in a row

Advertisers’ spend on paid search rose in the UK for the third quarter in a row, according to research from leading performance marketing company, Efficient Frontier. The company’s Q3 2010 Digital Marketing Performance Report shows a six percent growth in Q3 this year over Q2; and also six percent growth over the same period last year.

Travel companies are out-performing the market in their search campaigns: cost-per-click rates are up five per cent over the same period last year; and click-through rates are up 14 per cent year-on-year. Spend by travel advertisers is in line with the rest of the market (up by six percent). Paid click volumes stayed relatively flat.

Jonathan Beeston, European client services director for Efficient Frontier, says: “High CPCs are a sign of greater competition spurred by a healthy ROI. Volume has stayed level, which is a sign of level consumer interest. Having had a difficult year, the travel sector seems to be recovering at a better pace than the rest of the market, which should signal good news for 2011.”

Google remains the search engine of choice for the majority of consumers seeking travel information, accounting for just under 75 (74.9) percent of clicks, and 87.7 percent of spend. Yahoo! accounts for 22.5 percent of clicks on travel ads, and 9.4 percent of advertisers’ spend. Bing is making a small inroad to this market, at 2.5 percent of clicks and 2.8 percent of spend.

Beeston says: “Overall, 2010 has been a good year for search, but the UK is making slower progress than the U.S. (which saw year on year growth in spend of 19 percent). Looming cuts and sluggish consumer confidence means that we’re predicting annual growth of between five and 10 percent for the full year.”

Additionally, early indications are that demand for buying display advertising via ad exchanges and Facebook advertising, have intensified in the UK. Trend figures for these are not available yet as they are in earlier development stages than search. However, overall advertiser interest going into Q4 is high, and trends will begin to emerge in 2011.

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