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API Journal Authors: Anders Wallgren, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan

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Tablets Pull Ahead of Pack in Strong Q4 2012 for Paid Search Advertising

Research by IgnitionOne, a leading digital marketing solutions provider, revealed that year-over-year (YoY) paid search spending growth for tablets doubled that of smart phones in the fourth quarter of 2012 as mobile devices as a whole grew to 18% of search budgets in the U.S.

The report, which includes trends across online advertising, also revealed the Yahoo! Bing Network as a strong performer achieving their highest market share since the beginning of 2009 (24%). Total paid search spending grew at 19% YoY, representing a continued acceleration from last quarter, closing out a strong quarter.

These figures are released quarterly by IgnitionOne which powers more than $30 billion in revenue each year for leading brands through digital marketing solutions.

Key findings in the report:

  • 2012 ends with a strong Q4 for search - Ending with a robust holiday shopping season, U.S. search saw advertising spend up 19% YoY in Q4. The fourth quarter also saw YoY increases in impressions (19%), and clicks (6%).
  • Tablet search breaks away from smartphones as mobile devices continue to explode – U.S. YoY search ad impressions for tablets are up 212% compared to smartphones’ increase of 20%. Spend for tablets is also double that of smartphones with increases of 163% vs 87%. Mobile devices now account for 18% of total search budgets.
  • Yahoo! Bing Network picks up steam – Yahoo! Bing continued to accelerate their growth in the U.S. with a YoY increase in Q4 spend of 48% compared to Google’s 12%. This helped Yahoo! Bing grab the biggest share of market (24%) since Q1 of 2009
  • Shoppers splurged on higher value orders in Q4 – U.S. Retail search advertising saw YoY increases greater than average on impressions (+28%) and clicks (+10%) and Average Over Value (AOV) increased an impressive 46%. However, transactions decreased 31%, pointing to consumers checking out with fewer, but higher-value carts.
  • 2012 was a good year for paid search – When comparing to 2011 for our top U.S. clients, paid search metrics for the full year increased across the board with spend increasing 31% and impressions and clicks increasing 21% and 22% respectively.

“Tablets have become a very important device for advertisers, especially retailers,” said Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne. “Smart marketers took advantage of the high level of engagement on these devices during the critical Q4 shopping season and we will continue to see budget shifts to mobile campaigns in the new year.”

This report is the latest in a series of reports from IgnitionOne, reviewing trends across the online advertising landscape. This and previous quarterly reports can be downloaded at

About IgnitionOne

IgnitionOne®, the global leader in digital marketing solutions, enables companies to integrate and centralize cross-channel marketing efforts within one platform, allowing for deeper insights and greater digital success. On behalf of our customers, IgnitionOne currently scores over 300 million users in 53 countries to help optimize media and website conversions using cross-channel attribution modeling across search, mobile, display and social. IgnitionOne’s solutions are powered by proprietary, integrated technology: IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing SuiteSM.

IgnitionOne powers more than $30 billion in revenue each year for leading brands, including General Motors, DIRECTV, Ann Taylor, La Quinta, Travel Guard and Fiat, as well as advertising agencies such as Golley Slater and CyberAgent.

For more information, please visit, follow the company on Twitter @ignitionone or visit the blog at

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