Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, has released its Q3 2019 Digital Marketing Report (DMR), analyzing benchmark data and key trends across paid and organic search, display, and social. The report also includes insights on major players like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. In conjunction with the report, Merkle will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, October 24 th at 2 p.m. ET to discuss these findings.
The latest quarterly report reveals that advertisers increased their US Google search investment by 16% year-over-year (YoY) in Q3 2019, after nearly two years of decelerating spend growth in search ads for the search giant. This surge could be attributed to the continued strength of Google Shopping and a rebound in growth for Google text ads, with spending on advertiser brand keywords growing at a particularly strong rate. Further, within Google Shopping, the Showcase Shopping ad format produced its largest share of clicks to date, accounting for 10% of Shopping clicks, among brands that adopted the newer format.
Amazon also appears to have increased its investment in Google ads, and in the leadup to Prime Day 2019, Amazon’s presence in Google Shopping auctions reached new heights. Although Amazon paused the ads over the two-day event, it returned to capture an even larger share of impressions. Additionally, spending on Amazon’s Sponsored Products format grew 35% in Q3 2019, while sales generated by the format grew 69%. A significant portion of the sales came in over Prime Day, when daily sales were 900% higher than average.
Facebook ad spend, excluding Instagram, increased 12% YoY in Q3 2019 among advertisers with established programs. Facebook spending growth had slowed in late 2018, but it has now accelerated for two quarters in a row. Advertiser spending on Instagram ads grew 44% YoY in Q3 2019, and among brands running both Instagram and Facebook ads, Instagram accounted for 29% of total Facebook spending in Q3 2019.
Although total visits to brand sites driven by organic search fell 9% YoY, DuckDuckGo remained a bright spot, delivering a 68% increase in visits YoY. On mobile devices, DuckDuckGo now produces half as many organic search visits as Bing in the US, and it is quickly closing the gap.
“Our intent with the quarterly Digital Marketing Report is to provide marketers with the tools and resources they need to develop successful and impactful future campaigns,” said Erin Hutchinson, senior vice president of marketing at Merkle. “Q3 2019 saw an influx of growth as these platforms continue to evolve and influence the industry in new ways. This positive trend may quell some industry analysts’ concerns of impending recession.”