Sep 072010

7th September 2010 by William Hobson

The level of search engine marketing spend by some of the world’s biggest brands on Google’s AdWords platform has been revealed in an internal document seen by AdAge.

The document gives several insights into how major brands have made use of AdWords advertising for the six months leading to June 2010, giving AdAge enough data to review $574m of Google’s US paid search market. Hundreds of advertiser accounts are listed in the document, which includes some of Google’s highest direct-billed customers – the major sources of industry revenue, as opposed to the smaller long-tail revenue from self-serve advertisers or SMEs who may have hired a PPC agency to run a paid search campaign.

Together, out of the 47 who spent more than $1m in June, the top 10 advertisers accounted for 5% of Google’s revenue during June. 71 advertisers spent between $500,000 and $1m, whilst 357 spent between $100,000 and $500,000. Finally, 1,356 advertisers spent between $10,000 and $100,000 – but as stated, many more advertisers spending less than this are not listed in the document. It should be noted that as Google ads operate on a PPC model, spending figures translate to both competition for certain keywords as well as the number of times a user has clicked through them to the advertiser’s landing page.

On closer inspection, the document reveals that brand spending differs wildly depending on their product – as well as developments in the real world.

BP, for example, spent a reported $57,000 a month before the Deep Horizon disaster in April. Following this the company embarked on a huge spending spree to secure PR communications a prominent place in search. In June alone, BP spent $3.6m on paid search advertising, pushing it into the top ten advertisers by buying up dozens of associated keywords in both universal and video search in an attempt to direct traffic (Get 10000 free hits) away from online news providers and to its company pages.

Meanwhile, AT&T Mobile – already a large spender in search and other advertising – pushed to the top in June with $8m spent on AdWords to support the launch of iPhone 4. This could also have explained why Apple, which ironically dropped Google as default search provider for the iPhone 4, spent $1m on Google advertising in June. Whilst this doesn’t make it one of the biggest spenders, it provides an insight into the interplay of competition and practicality between media owners and tech companies.

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