Paid Search Study: Yahoo/Bing’s Click Share Grows, But Google Still Tops

In the third quarter of 2012, click share on the Yahoo Bing Network rose to 21.3%, the fourth quarter in a row the network has posted gains. Google dropped to 78.7% in share, though based on click traffic, Google still outpaced YBN.

These are stats from the Search Agency’s State of Paid Search report for the third quarter. Here’s a look at click share over time:

Data and Image via The Search Agency

As you can see, YBN’s share has consistently grown, while Google’s has dropped. But the chart doesn’t reflect the fact that the total number of paid clicks has increased. From the report:

Across all search engines, Q3 2012 click traffic increased 27% YoY. Q3 shows little growth over Q2 with a modest 2.5% increase in click traffic.

In other words, the “pie” of paid search traffic got larger, so even if Google’s “slice” is smaller than in past quarters, it comes from a larger pie and therefore may still have growth. In fact, the report says that according to another metric, “click traffic,” Google  is outpacing YBN:

Consistent with previous trends, Google’s YoY click traffic outranked Bing for Q3 2012—Google saw a 28.8% growth, while Bing saw a 21.7% growth in click traffic

The positive news from The Search Agencies jibes with other positive Q3 data about the Yahoo Bing network released by the biggest players in the industry.

Kenshoo, for example, found that ad spend on the Yahoo/Bing Network (YBN) was up 10% in Q3 as compared to Q2, while Google ad spend was only up 7% in the same period. Covario also found a rise in Yahoo/Bing spending, but only of 5%, with Google experiencing a quarter-over-quarter gain of 8%.

Marin Software looked at the third quarter compared to the year before and found that advertisers on Bing saw a 9% higher click volume. In the same year-over-year comparison, Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG) found ad spend rising 26% on Bing, with ad clicks growing 14% and CPCs up 10%.

Bing Trends Data via RKG

“Over the last quarter we’ve seen higher quality traffic on Yahoo/Bing, driving advertisers to invest more in the growing search engine,” said Keith Wilson, vice president of AgencyProducts at The Search Agency.

Kenshoo has found Yahoo/Bing metrics steadily increasing over the past six quarters, except Q1 of 2012 when CTR was flat. Six quarters ago, notes the company’s report, there was little significant difference between Yahoo/Bing and Google when it came to CTR and CPC, but now Yahoo/Bing CTR is 29% higher than Google, and CPC on YBN is 46% higher than Google.

Data and Image Via Kenshoo

Data and Image Via Kenshoo

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Microsoft: Bing Ads | Stats | Top News | Yahoo: Search Ads


About The Author: is Executive Features Editor at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998.

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  • ScottyMack

    Like many things that deal with stats and numbers, this can be
    interpreted in an entirely different manner by the “glass half full”
    crowd at Google. One could just as easily state that there was
    measurable Click Share growth by Google and a loss by Bing/Yahoo versus
    the 3rd quarter stats from last year!

  • Madhukar SV

    Google must provide more conversions and catch up with the Competition else it will loose its current position . Innovation is the only key .

  • Madhukar SV

    Google must provide more conversions and catch up with the Competition . Else its current share of % will decrease . Innovation is the only key .

  • jasonkovarik

    I would like to see a CPC comparison analysis between the most commonly searched terms on each search engine. I believe that would be a truer view of the average CPC rates in the U.S.

  • i2k2networks

    Does the so many Google updates forcing people to switch their online promotion tactics to other search engines like Yahoo and Bing.

    i2k2 Networks (

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