That Ad Slowdown Hasn’t Hit Google

Published on December 12, 2011
by Peter Kafka

It’s still all anecdotal, but we continue to hear that the last few months of this year have not been kind to people who sell ads for a living — including people who sell digital ads.

But here’s the counterpoint: Search — which means Google — appears to be doing just fine.

Citigroup’s Mark Mahaney has been checking with search marketers, who tell him that Q4 looks a whole lot like the rest of 2011, except maybe a bit better: “Our panel is tracking U.S. Search spend to be up between 15% and 27% Y/Y, rates that are largely in-line with or faster than Q1-Q3 trends.”

Mahaney notes that Efficient Frontier, the search marketer Adobe plans on buying, says its Q4 numbers show a “slight deceleration” from the rest of the year. But compared to the sour faces I’ve seen from some ad guys in recent weeks, that’s fine.

Also of note: Mahaney says that mobile advertising, which has generated lots of hype but not that many dollars, may finally be here, at least when it comes to search. There’s a “a clear consensus that Mobile Search spend is becoming material,” he writes, and will account for 10 percent or more of many search buyers’ spend.

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