I’m just now getting to a report put out by WebVisible on search trends and small business advertising spending in Q3. There’s some great data there.
In the the top 20 SMB paid search spending categories:
Attorneys and Dentists made up the top two largest advertiser categories in Q3 2009, with 7.7% and 5% of total advertisers respectively. These categories also had higher than average spending, and higher than average keyword counts. Air Conditioning Services and Physicians & Surgeons were the only other categories that comprised more than 2% of the total:
Source: WebVisible (Q3, 2009)
- In Q3 2009, the small business search advertiser spent an average of $1,658 on search advertising, an increase of 91% from Q3 in the previous year and
- 93% from the previous quarter.
- Campaigns had an average of 55 keywords (excluding geographic modifiers) in Q3 2009, which increased from 43 keywords in Q3 2008.
- In Q3 2009, Google accounted for 60.4% of search advertising spending. Yahoo! accounted for 26.2%, Bing 10.5% and Ask 2.4%. Google lost 5 points
- year-over-year (YoY) as spend shifted among the other engines.
- Click-through rates (CTR) improved YoY across all the engines, with the biggest improvement on Yahoo!, whose CTR improved 123% from Q3 2008 to Q3 2009.
- Average CPCs are on the rise, with Google up 14% over a year ago. Google’s average CPC was approximately 30% higher than Yahoo! or Bing in Q3 2009.
These data represent campaigns that collectively amount to “$23 million in US small business advertiser spending in Q3 2009.”
Yet what’s interesting is the variation among the data from different sources. Borrell, for example, which estimates display, search and other forms of local online ad spending has a very different hierarchy of advertisers, dominated by the traditional classifieds categories: autos, jobs, real estate. I’ve also seen other data from different sources that show yet a different hierarchy.
The data above are largely but not entirely consistent with yellow pages category spending trends. In print YP attorneys is the highest spending advertiser category. Much of the spending that WebVisible is capturing is coming via its relationships with traditional media companies that cater to SMB advertisers.
There are two ways, potentially, to regard and interpret the data in the chart above:
- Because it’s influenced by local media sales reps and potentially as part of a bundle of ad spend it’s consistent with traditional media category spending trends
- It’s an indication that a lucrative category like attorneys is starting to turn to the Web in earnest, posing a longer-term threat to the print YP spend for example