Online retail giant Amazon was the leading paid search advertiser in the United States in 2016 according to new research from AdGooroo, which ranked the top 20 U.S. paid search advertisers based on U.S. Google desktop text ad clicks on the top 50,000 keywords from January through December last year.
According to the study, Amazon generated 471.4 million clicks last year, 92% more than the next advertiser in the ranking, Weather.com, which garnered 245.6 million clicks in 2016. Macy’s (167.6 million clicks), The Home Depot (146.1 million clicks) and Expedia.com (122.6 million clicks) took the remaining spots in the top five. Amazon’s U.K.-based site Amazon.co.uk led paid search clicks in the U.K. last year as well.
Retail, Travel, Banking & Telecoms
In total there were 8 traditional retailers among the top 20 paid search advertisers, making up the largest industry sector in the ranking. Along with Amazon, Macy’s and The Home Depot, Walmart (105.9 million clicks), JCPenney (104 million clicks), Target (95.9 million clicks), Kohl’s (70.3 million clicks) and Best Buy (70.1 million clicks) also made the ranking. In addition, tech device and software manufacturer/retailer Apple.com ranked 17th with 57.8 million clicks last year.
After retail, travel was next most represented industry, with 4 advertisers in the ranking, including Expedia.com and Expedia-owned Hotels.com (68.5 million clicks), and Priceline’s Kayak.com (71.2 million clicks) and Booking.com (63.8 million clicks).
Banking and Telecommunications each had two representatives among the top 20 advertisers last year: BankofAmerica.com (69.4 million clicks) and Chase.com (56.2 million clicks), and ATT.com (63 million clicks) and VerizonWireless.com (56.2 million clicks).
Although The Weather Channel’s Weather.com and CBS Interactive’s search engine Search.com (73.2 million clicks) are very different in their offering, both share a connection to TV broadcast media as well as the distinction of being ‘publisher’ sites that seek to attract high site traffic that can be monetized through ad sales.
Notably, both sites also made major inroads in paid search advertising in 2016. Weather.com experienced a 162% year-over-year increase in paid search ad clicks in 2016, while Search.com’s paid search success in 2016 appears to be a first for the company, which did not participate in paid search advertising prior to 2016 according to AdGooroo data.
Finally, ranking 9th with 76.3 million clicks in 2016 was pizza delivery chain Domino’s, which appears to have made a concerted effort to step up its paid search advertising efforts last year. For instance, for the full year 2015, Dominos.com ranked just 42nd with 29.7 million clicks, according to AdGooroo data, which means the pizza maker improved its year-over-year paid search advertising results by 157% in 2016.
For comparison, Domino’s’ nearest rival in paid search advertising in 2016 was PizzaHut.com, which ranked a distant 56th, with 30.6 million clicks during the year. No other restaurant cracked the top 100 in 2016; TacoBell.com ranked 101st with 18.9 million clicks last year.
According to Domino’s website, about 50% of its sales in the U.S. come from digital ordering, so it would not be a stretch to conclude Domino’s’ strong paid search effort in 2016 has paid off, at least judging by the company’s 2016 financial results.