Merkle Publishes Q4 2016 Digital Marketing Report

On Tuesday, Merkle — a top technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency — announced the release of its Q4 2016 Digital Marketing Report.

The report analyzes trends across paid search, social media, display, and organic search, while providing highly regarded insights into the performance of major industry players like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

In support of the research findings, Merkle is hosting a complimentary webinar on Thursday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

The report, we’re told, explores the impact of several key market developments, such as recently released Google products and other contributors to Google’s growth rate; Facebook’s removal of its FBX desktop retargeting platform; the rise of organic search traffic on mobile phones; and the positive growth of Bing Product Ads. In Q4 2016, the data shows that advertiser investment in digital marketing remained robust. The peak of the holiday shopping season delivered particularly strong ad spend and revenue growth for retail brands, but other major industries like travel, B-to-B, and financial services saw strong growth in Q4 as well.

Google’s overall growth was aided throughout 2016 by a rise in Google Shopping ad traffic generated by Google search partners, including Google’s own image search property. In Q4, Google partners generated a larger share of Product Listing Ad (PLA) traffic than text ad traffic for the first time ever. Also, Google’s expansion of mobile ad inventory continued to drive meaningful gains. Still, Google’s largest recent gains have been driven by its move in Q3 to give more device bidding control back to advertisers. As advertisers shifted spend from tablets to the desktop segment over Q3 and Q4, they were ultimately able to spend more overall, while achieving the same return on investment.

Additionally, spending across the Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini platforms remained down compared to a year earlier. However, Bing Product Ads were one bright spot, as spend growth for the format returned to positive territory.

“In the display and paid social world, Facebook spend grew in Q4, with 59% of all Facebook spend going to ads on phones and tablets, nearly double mobile’s share of paid search spending,” Merkle says. “As a response to the rise of mobile usage, Facebook shuttered its FBX desktop retargeting platform in Q4.”

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