Search advertisers withdrew dollars in Q4, according to a report from search marketing agency Efficient Frontier released today. Across the board Q4 spending was down by 8 percent year-over-year, though the retail sector increased its spend by 9 percent in the same timeframe. Some of the findings in the report were reported by the Wall Street Journal, including search in the recession.
By contrast, a slight uptick in search spending was measured by competing firm Clickable. Max Kalehoff, VP of marketing at Clickable, posted Q4 numbers that showed increases in spending among search advertisers over the last four months of 2008.
A breakout of search engine marketing trends and trends by vertical market for Efficient Frontier’s report is available over at Search Engine Watch. A few key points:
- A measured 63 percent year-over-year increase in spend on Google Content spending among spending an index of Efficient Frontier’s customers was observed.
- Finance sector spending declined by 25 percent, with a 16 percent quarter-over-quarter drop in Q4. Impressions were up by 5 percent year-over-year due to customer demand, however fewer qualified conversion reduced CPC by 10 percent.
- Small advertisers in the U.S. accounted for a greater decrease in search advertising spend than larger, more established brands. Advertisers with budgets of $50,000 or less per month cut spending by 23 percent year-over-year, with many cuts occurring between Q3 and Q4. Larger companies with budgets over $200,000 reduced spending by about 9 percent in the same period.