Report: U.S. Paid Search Spend Is Picking Up Again

U.S. paid search spend increased 11% in Q1 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009, marking the strongest quarter for paid search since the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a report from SearchIgnite, a provider of search optimization solutions that claims to manage more than $450 million in PPC spend annually.

Still according to the report, search marketing remained flat quarter-over-quarter (-0.5%), a metric that SearchIgnite says typically shows declines in Q1 due to decreased marketing spend after the holidays.

In 2009, spend in Q1 compared with Q4 2008 declined more than -14%. The first quarter of 2010, however, held steady with Q4 spend.

In addition, Q1 2009 saw spend decline nearly -2% YoY, while spend in the first quarter of 2010 is up 11% YoY. SearchIgnite concludes that these figures could indicate that the search market is rebounding from declines witnessed during the recession.

Other notable findings in the report:

Retail and travel sectors driving growth

Retail and travel marketers drove much of the growth in paid search, with spend from those verticals up 26% and 9% year-over-year respectively. For retailers, this marked the fifth straight quarter of YoY PPC spend increases since SearchIgnite began tracking this metric.

Bing grows YoY …

… but dips in Q1 due to reliance on retailers. Spend on Microsoft’s Bing increased 22% YoY as the engine continued to take share from Yahoo.

However, according to SearchIgnite, Bing saw the most declines of all engines quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) due to a decline in retail search spend following the holidays, a vertical which continues to be a key driver of growth for the engine.

You can download SearchIgnite’s latest white paper on U.S. paid search spend here (registration required).

The company says it tracked more than 50 billion impressions and 1 billion clicks on Google, Yahoo! and Bing from January 1, 2006 through March 31, 2010 for its quarterly reports.