Each quarter, Merkle releases a detailed Digital Marketing Report that looks at where digital marketing agencies are spending money, ‘including paid search, SEO, product ads, CSEs, programmatic, and social media.’ The performance-marketing agency released their Q1 2017 report late last month, and the findings are likely to please Google on numerous fronts.

Spending across platforms on Google AdWords grew 21 per cent year-over-year, an increase from the 19 per cent year-over-year growth it enjoyed in the final quarter of 2016. Click volume was also up 20 per cent, while cost-per-click rose a modest 1 per cent. Merkle attributes Google’s continuing success to the addition of a fourth mobile text ad, product listing ads (PLA) in image search, and ads on Google Maps, not to mention the return of separate device bidding and the global loyalty of digital marketing agencies.

Separate device bids allowed advertisers to steer away from tablets, where spending fell more than 20 per cent. Mobile spend grew 51 per cent, and desktop spend grew 12 per cent.

E-commerce and online retail brands were particularly active to start 2017, with Google Shopping spend growing 32 per cent. PLAs counted for more than 50 per cent of shopping ad clicks, up from 48 per cent in Q1 2016. Local Inventory Ads also continued to make gains, especially on mobile where they generated almost 20 per cent of all Shopping clicks.

The news wasn’t exclusively positive, however: expanded text ads (ETA) have so far failed to excite consumers, Merkle reports.

“After accounting for device, keyword type, and ad location, there is still no clear evidence that Expanded Text Ads are producing consistently higher click-through rates than the legacy Google text ad format,” the report reads. Text ad spend in general grew 12 per cent.

For the fifth consecutive quarter, digital marketing agencies spent less on both Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini. The two companies’ struggles can be primarily blamed on mobile, where Google commands a staggering 97 per cent of Android and iOS traffic. Still, Bing and Yahoo owned a combined 19 per cent of desktop clicks in Q1 2017.

The search and digital marketing industries are consistently changing, and both search engines and digital marketing agencies must learn to adapt. As a Premier Google Partner All-Star Agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media can help your company stay on top of changes in the industry.

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