Google’s CTR Dominance Is a Double-Edged Sword

Everyone knows that Google is the biggest, most profitable search engine. But new research from search marketing intelligence company AdGooroo shows its stronghold slipping, especially in click-through rate (CTR). What’s behind this dip in dominance?

Google delivered 138 more impressions than the Yahoo Bing network in all six categories – shopping and classifieds, financial services, travel, education, automotive and business – as analyzed by AdGooroo in its latest paid search metrics performance report. For individual categories, the disparity in dominance ranged from 16 (business) to 195 percent (shopping and classified). The search giant also offers advertisers a 126 percent higher CTR than its competitors, particularly in the business and education sectors.


However, that gap has narrowed considerably since 2012, when AdGooroo started these annual analyses. While Google’s CTR is 65 percent higher than it was three years ago, that of Yahoo Bing improved by 175 percent. Google had a 227 percent higher CTR for shopping and classifieds than Yahoo Bing in 2012. The gap has since shrunk to 76 percent. Similarly, Google’s advantage went down by 221 percent in financial services and 159 percent in travel.

“There’s no question that Google has superior CTR across all six categories we studied. However there were significant percentages of advertisers in certain categories with a better CTR on Bing,” says Richard Stokes, chief executive of AdGooroo.

The advertisers with better CTR away from Google include Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Southwest Airlines, Jeep, and Lexus. Over the last few weeks, Microsoft has partnered with AOL, rolled out Convert Product Ads to help advertisers transition from shopping campaigns to product ads, and beat Google to the punch with its in-app search product, Snapshots. But none of these recent happenings would have affected anything over the last year. According to Stokes, the shifting numbers are a result of Google being so exceedingly competitive.

“The reason for these higher CTRs is better positioning on the SERP. They were able to show their ads higher up on the page for Yahoo Bing Network sites than on Google due to less competition and a more favorable bidding environment,” he says.

Google has double to triple the number of advertisers than the Yahoo Bing Network and that dominance is something of a double-edged sword. While the search giant generates significantly more revenue – 769 percent – more advertisers are increasing focus on Bing because it’s easier to stand out and ultimately rank. Also clicks are significantly cheaper.


On average, Yahoo Bing’s CPC cost is 42 percent less. Clicks are 49 percent cheaper in shopping and classifieds, 35 percent cheaper in financial services, and 38 percent cheaper in travel.

“Analyzing the statistics from the report, I found an advertiser who is only on Google today, on average, can generate about 24 percent more clicks by adding Bing to their portfolio. Additionally, they can lower their average CPC across both engines by about 10 percent,” Stokes says. “The old saying is, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch,’ but this is a free lunch for anyone who wants it.”

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