Paid search down 14% in January, up 11% in March: SearchIgnite

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After declines in January and February, paid search marketing spend was up 11% in March according to the latest quarterly SearchIgnite report on the state of search. Additionally, while consumers are still making online purchases, the average conversion time has grown significantly. The time between when a consumer clicks an ad and when they make a purchase on the marketer's site has increased 32.4% year over year.

Marketers reduced paid search spend by 14% in January versus last year. February was down 1%.

Roger Barnette, president of SearchIgnite said the volatility is due to the fact that marketers today have less visibility into their own marketing budgets. “What used to be a fixed quarter-to-quarter or annual budget is now a month-to-month or week-to-week budget,” he said.

He went on to say that search is a reflection of the value marketers place on search marketing, so the fact that spending had an uptick in March is promising.

“When marketers look at marketing options, they're seeing the need to invest more in search as the quarter went on,” Barnette said. “This shows that relative to other channels, marketers continue to find that search is the most profitable.”

He said January spend was down because clients coming off of the holiday season—including decreased consumer spending—were facing a new year and changes in the economic climate. “They took a step back to asses the landscape,” he said.

The report also found that Google garnered 74% of its clients' search spend in Q1.

SearchIgnite is part of Innovation Interactive, which also owns 360i and NetMining. Its clients include NBC Universal, Digitas, Borders, H&R Block and Office Depot.

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