Search ads delivered to smartphones and tablets grew 67% YoY as a percentage of overall search ad spend; total global revenues from Google Product Listing Ads increased 417%

San Francisco (December 16, 2013) – Skai (, the global leader in premium digital marketing technology, today unveiled its 2013 Global Online Retail Seasonal  Shopping Report: Early Edition. The free report provides actionable insights for advertisers and documents the growing role of mobile search, superior performance of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), a 19.1% year-over-year (YoY) increase in total global sales revenue driven by search advertising, and regional insights on paid search performance in the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Overall, paid search is performing quite well for retailers during the peak shopping season but Mobile and Product Listing Ads are really stealing the show,” said Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer for Skai. “As consumers show preference for shopping via mobile devices and engaging with richer ad formats, it’s crucial for marketers to optimize paid search campaigns in a holistic manner.”

Globally, retailers grew revenue from search advertising 19.1% YoY. They spent 34.1% more YoY but did so efficiently, boosting their click through rate (CTR) by 12.8% YoY to gain 26.9% more clicks YoY and slightly offset higher cost-per-click (CPC) rates. Boosted by the shortened shopping season in 2013, the report illustrates noticeable lifts in ad spend in mid-November compared to 2012.

In the 2013 shopping season, more than one of every three global paid search clicks originated from mobile devices, and paid search marketers allocated 66.7% more of their budgets to mobile devices. In 2012, just 20.5% of total paid search spend went to mobile devices (11.8% to phones, 8.7% to tablets) during the shopping season, but this increased to 34.4% in 2013 (17.7% to phones, 16.7% to tablets).

Retailers spent nearly twice as much (196.1% YoY) on PLAs during the 2013 shopping season as they did in 2012 and reaped rewards for doing so. Total global revenues from PLAs increased 417.4% YoY, and retailers generated nearly a 9 to 1 return on their investment. Improved performance of PLAs boosted the ad type’s average CTR by 30.3%, from 2.6% in 2012 to 3.3% in 2013. The increased efficiency enabled retailers to generate 115.6% more clicks from only 65.5% more impressions YoY.

In the United States, retailers outperformed the global benchmarks. U.S. shopping season revenues from paid search increased 30.7% YoY. Despite retail paid search spending increasing 48.1% YoY, U.S. retailers earned more clicks for their dollars in 2013, boosting their CTR 14.1% YoY to generate 41.8% more clicks while only requiring 24.3% more impressions to generate that website traffic.

Skai’s 2013 Global Online Retail Seasonal Shopping Report: Early Edition contains an in-depth look at mobile ad performance and Google PLAs, along with timely SEM trends and insights. The report also includes implications for advertisers and a glossary of search marketing terms and formulas.

The data analyzed in this report by Skai reflects a representative cross-section of global Skai clients (advertisers and agencies) managing paid search programs for the retail vertical with active campaigns tracking impressions, clicks, conversions and revenue from November 1, 2012 through December 9, 2013. All YoY comparisons are from retailers engaged in paid search marketing in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons so key metrics can be considered “same store sales.” This index includes all major retail categories such as, but not limited to, electronics, books, apparel, appliances, shoes, sporting goods and more. All data is accurate as of December 10, 2013 but subject to change as delayed conversions continue to accrue. The data set covers 10+ billion paid impressions and clicks on search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing that delivered more than $500 million dollars in online sales revenues during the November periods.

Download Skai’s 2013 Global Online Retail Seasonal Shopping Report: Early Edition to get a breakdown of all the key SEM metrics for the season to date.

About Skai

Skai is a digital marketing technology company that engineers premium solutions for search marketing, social media and online advertising. Brands, agencies and developers use Skai Search™, Skai Social™, Skai Local™ and Skai SmartPath™ to direct more than $25 billion in annual client sales revenue. Skai is the only Facebook strategic Preferred Marketing Developer with native ads API solutions for Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Exchange. The Skai platform delivers Infinite Optimization™ through closed-loop targeting, universal integration, dynamic attribution, and predictive analytics. Skai powers campaigns in more than 190 countries for nearly half of the Fortune 50 and all 10 top global ad agency networks. Skai clients include CareerBuilder, Expedia, KAYAK, iREP, John Lewis, Resolution Media, Tesco, Travelocity, Walgreens, and Zappos. Skai has 18 international locations and is backed by Sequoia Capital, Arts Alliance, and Tenaya Capital. Please visit for more information.

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