Posted October 12, 2010 9:13 am by with 6 comments

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If you have been paying any attention to my posts as of late you will have a general idea where this one is heading. You see, I have had some issues around research and reports that are generated by people and companies who stand to benefit if results look a certain way (read: they are positive). The quantity of these reports is surprisingly proportionate to the amount of good news about the subject, no matter how that good news is created or gathered. In other words, no one reports bad news about his or her own industry because that would be terribly fair and balanced and we wouldn’t want that now would we?

So how surprised are you when SearchIgnite, a company that manages PPC spend for companies, reports on paid search growing?

TechCrunch tells us a little more

SearchIgnite, a provider of paid search optimization solutions which claims to manage more than $600 million in pay-per-click (PPC) spend annually, has released its latest report on the paid search market in the United States. According to the company, spend on paid search ads increased close to 6% year-over-year.

Google commanded no less than 80.2% of all U.S. PPC ad spend in the third quarter, picking up 2 percentage points even compared to last quarter.

And yet, SearchIgnite says early data coming out of the Bing-Yahoo alliance bodes well for Bing to become a viable competitor in the future.

Here’s a chart to look at. What is this saying to you?

Here’s what it says to me. It is using the fact that because bing has such a disproportionately small percentage of the PPC spend it can show ridiculous percentage gains year over year. It looks good on a graph but is it really helpful?

Here’s the real story

Google is the place to spend for paid search. Why? Because more people use the stinkin’ search engine! End of story. Whether that’s good or bad is not being argued. It just is what it is. The above chart says, “Yahoo is falling in PPC just like the everywhere else in the company and bing is just kinda there”.

Is bing really going to challenge Google in the area of paid search? I am unconvinced that enough people will use bing to make it the viable competitor of the future. Would I like to see it become a viable competitor? Yes, absolutely because competition is a good thing. But competition is not defined by just showing up. It is defined by challenging the position of another entity and bing just doesn’t strike me as having that ability.

Of course, when it comes to this kind of ‘research’ the meaning is in the eye of the beholder. So what’s your take?

  • The PPC world have become very strange over the years, it’s not like when I started in 2000. The competition is great, but Google is always the place to be..

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off

  • Thank you for calling attention to this example of conveniently poised data. I’m going to show this to any SEM who is just starting out in their career because it offers two valuable lessons. First, the undeniable prominence of Google, and second, numbers like that should always be examined from all angles.

  • This is funny to me, because I sometimes feel a great sense of satisfaction by slapping my industry in the face. In a recent “report”, I compared SEO and social media to sex pills and Nigerian banking scams. How is that for fair and balanced? 😀

  • Eric Carlyle

    Searchignite has been putting out quarterly reports for more than 3 years through the ups and the downs. The lead of the story in the Q3 report was that Google has more than 80% of the market, its most significant share of ad spend and one of the biggest quarter over quarter jumps ever.
    Searchignite highlights in the report that Bing has a ways to go to become a strong competitor to Google, but that the alliance with Yahoo will help them in their efforts to compete. Searchignite’s past reports can be found here if you want to take a look for comparison –

    • Thanks, Eric, that is good to know. I would recommend that you make that clear because most people will not be aware that there is history here.

  • Michael Sands

    I am curious as to why you think that Bing could be a viable competitor to Google in the future? It appears to me, with the branding and corporate recognition that google has established, that it would be inconceivable for another search engine to take away a considerable portion of Google’s market share.