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The Future of Paid Search – Google, Bing & Beyond

Paid search has cemented itself as a highly viable, cost effective marketing channel. In 2011, paid search spending is expected to reach $34 billion. Worldwide, paid search is a $34 billion industry. In this graphic, we’ll briefly explore paid search—it’s current state, where it’s going, and how the largest paid search venders (Google & Bing) have divvied up the market.

Data courtesy of and

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the future paid search

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Facts and Stats to Tweet:

  • Worldwide, paid search is a $34 billion industry. »tweet«
  • By 2016, paid search is expected to grow by 75% to become a $61.1 billion industry. »tweet«
  • Since 2006, the amount spent on paid search has increased by 250%. »tweet«
  • Google Adwords has a declining return on investment (ROI), down 12% as of 1/2011. »tweet«
  • Bing & Yahoo Advertising has an increasing return on investment (ROI), up 10% as of 1/2011. »tweet«
  • Paid search is currently bigger than radio, outdoor and cinema advertising. »tweet«
  • The average cost per click is up 11% (year over year) for Google, and 4% for Bing. »tweet«
  1. Michael Fokken Aug 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Wow, this is pretty interesting. I’m interested in why the ROI on Bing is better than on Google. Is it because the audience for each is different?

    • Carlos Ribeiro Aug 26, 2011 at 3:36 am

      Probably because Bing is cheaper, so it has better ROI (less investments for the same amount of clicks). Google is more expensive, so it has a worse ROI. The only problem here is that Bing is known to be buying traffic to grow and keep prices low, and that’s not sustainable long term.

  2. Indeed from our experience the bids are cheaper at Bing. But Bing won’t supply you with tons of traffic that can be done by google.

  3. We’ve always believed that it’s not the amount of traffic, but the quality. It all comes down to how you target, not which network you’re using.

  4. Love the post. Information is very useful for this niche market. I gotta ride with Elijah on when you address the traffic issue on the ROI of the investment. It is all about how you target.

  5. Excellent Post! The ROI piece is definitely surprising. Is it true for all sectors as you mentioned above such as retail, auto, finance and travel? What about Pharma? Is Paid Search ROI on Pharma higher on Bing than Google as well?

  6. Uh, better re-check your data.

    As soon as I saw the figures for paid TV ads, I knew there was something really wrong. $43B worldwide? I don’t think so. Try more like $60B — just in the US. (Maybe you can do a search for some data…) I didn’t delve into the other channels.

    • Hi Mark:

      Really appreciate the comment. Most of the data for this infographic was pulled from a report released by MagnaGlobal. Please keep in mind that $43B was a forecast. :)

  7. ROI for Bing might be better than Google but IMHO Google provides you with better set of target audience. The main reason for lower ROI is higher bid for each keyword at Google than any other ad program which shoots up advertising budget.

  8. Johnny P. Search Dec 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I think folks could easily mis-read the ROI stat. ROI is INCREASING for Bing and DECREASING for Google, but that doesn’t mean ROI is better for Bing. Google could very well still have a higher ROI.

  9. So besides all those claims made by google in their annual report saying increase in adsense revenue, ROI for adwords users is becoming less encouraging. Right?

    And this is a great inforgraphic revealing some of the most-wanted projections.

    Thanks for the effort…


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