Sean Donahue

New Search Advertising Statistics: Economic Downturn or Google Just Making Internal Changes?

July 9th, 2008

When talking to search marketers, I often hear grumbling about Google’s commanding influence in the search world, and its increasingly mysterious internal workings. I was reminded this week of just how powerful and inscrutable Google has become when I saw AdGooroo’s second quarter Search Engine Advertiser Update.

The search advertising research firm’s quarterly update contains a snapshot of search statistics, including an estimate of total advertiser counts on Google, Yahoo! and MSN. (Yahoo! up slightly, Google down slightly, and MSN down significantly). But what caught my eye was an estimate that the number of ads per keyword shown on Google has dropped 40% in the past six months — from 6.5 to 4.0.

What’s causing that decline? The report outlines two possibilities: It could be that Google is eliminating less effective ads in its quest to improve search ad quality. Or, it could be that the tough economic conditions have forced many advertisers out of search marketing — or out of business.

The frustrating thing is, marketers can’t be sure what’s causing that decline until later this summer, when Yahoo! and Google report earnings that either show growth or retrenchment. In the meantime, it’s back to wondering just what’s going on inside Google.

Categories: Search Marketing Tags: ,

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