Lost in Google's disappointing third-quarter results--even though $10.8 billion in advertising revenue, up 5% from the previous quarter and 16% year over year, hardly seems disappointing--is good news for advertisers. (And bad news for someone else, but not in the way you might think.*)
According to analysis conducted by WordStream, a PPC technology company, the average cost per click is down 16.5% for Google Search and 18.2% for the Google Display Network.
At the same time ad impressions and clicks grew at an impressive rate. Clicks were up 21.6% for Search and 29.1% for Display Network.
The bottom line for advertisers: A larger inventory of impressions and a lower cost per click means you have the opportunity to get more customers for less money.
"The trends we're seeing in the Google economy," says Larry Kim, founder and CTO of WordStream, "open up search engine marketing to more advertisers, including perhaps advertisers for whom the economics of search previously might not have made sense at higher average costs per click."
As the company has done in the past, WordStream analyzed Google's third-quarter results. (An infographic showing CTR, CPC, and conversion rates for the top 10 industries that spend the most on Google advertising can be found here.)
Some interesting findings:
"It's hard to say for certain what is causing what," Kim says. "The dramatic increase in impressions and clicks certainly contributed to the decline in average CPCs and CTRs. Generally speaking higher supply means lower prices, and showing a greater number of ads on a page inevitably means any one individual ad is less likely to be clicked on. Alternatively, the massive increase in impressions could be a deliberate strategy on Google's part to monetize more of their search inventory to increase clicks and revenues.
"I believe this is advantageous for both Google and advertisers--it's a win-win," Kim adds. "Advertisers can now get more customers for lower costs, increasing the ROI of this marketing channel."
* Earnings were released early, causing Google to halt trading until they finalized their 8k. Google blamed the unauthorized release on R.R. Donnelley, a company I once worked for... sadly, that was probably a career-limiting move for one of my ex-colleagues.