Google costs down, click throughs up

Google costs down, click throughs up

Latest data from search giant Google has revealed declining Cost Per Click (CPC) rates for the year to the end of quarter three while Click Through Rate (CTR) continue to rise.

Overall in the travel sector, for the year to the end of September CPC was down 1% while CTR was up 25% on the back of a 25% increase in clicks and 20% increase in queries.

The data reflect the difficulties of the market and would appear to counter claims that Google is an increasingly expensive channel for online travel companies.

A four-year comparison of CTR shows a steady rise throughout 2011, the exact opposite trend seen in each of the past three years.

Conversely CPC is broadly showing the opposite trend, gradually reducing throughout the year, particularly from the second quarter of 2011 onwards.

Within each of the travel verticals, however, the picture was different.

While the hotels data broadly followed the overall travel market, flights has seen a 2% increase in CPC with CTR up 8% and impressions 7% year on year.

Car hire, meanwhile, saw CPC increase 9% and CTR and impressions both up 4%. Packages saw CPCs remain flat while impressions were up 18% and CTRs down 3%.

Cruise saw CPC reduce by 1% in the year on year, CTR was up 1% and impressions up 15%. Of all the verticals cruise saw the biggest leap in queries, up 21% ahead of hotels (20%).

The 2011 week 46 report, seen by Travolution, also lists the top destination gainers and losers in 2011, with previous rising stars of the travel industry Turkey and Sharm El Sheikh the top ‘droppers’.

However, Turkey retains its top spot ahead of Spain with queries up 10% year on year, while Sharm slipped five places to number 28.

Top gainers were Florida (+80% for queries), France (+56%), Malta (+30%), Benidorm (+32%) and Cuba (+18%). Google’s ranking system is weighted according to share of total queries and overall year-on-year change.

Google data for mobile underlined the rapid rise of this channel with a 136% increase in queries this year to the end of September compared to the same period in 2010.

This has seen mobile impressions jump 179%, CTRs increase 64% and CPC rise by 22%. The biggest increase was in the packages vertical (295%) ahead of flights (194%).

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