You are invited to partner with DM Confidential on many of the high-caliber programs that serve the customer acquisition industry. DM Confidential offers a wide range of resources, from publications to award programs to networking events to webinars. DM Confidential offers limited sponsorship opportunities online, in print and in-person, so please reserve your space early. Memorial Day is just around the bend, which means the summer travel season is too. AdGooroo uses this time of year to offer a glimpse into paid search spending in the travel category so far in 2013. The company reports that there’s a downward trend happening and that Google might be to blame. Paid search spend in travel descends According to AdGooroo , paid search spend in the travel category on U.S. AdWords from January through April totaled $238 million, which is down 19 percent from the $295 million in spend in the same time period in 2012, and down nearly 25 percent from the same time period in 2011. Source: AdGooroo With the same downward trend happening during the summer months of previous years, AdGooroo forecasts that paid search spend in the travel category from May through August will amount to $242 million, which would reflect a 19 percent dip from the same period last year. The culprit It would appear that travel marketers are just reining back their paid search spending, but AdGooroo says that’s not what’s going on here. “For instance, we found 217 advertisers in the travel category on U.S. AdWords in Q1 2012 and 228 in Q1 2013,” writes Gregg Hamilton, senior vice president of research and analytics and business development at AdGooroo. Then what about the ability of travel sites to better retain users that previously had good experiences? Maybe. AdGooroo says that a more probable reason for this downward trend in paid search spend in the travel vertical is Google – more specifically, the search giant’s spending on their own travel marketing campaigns. “After all, the decline in PPC spend began in 2011, a year in which Google Flight Search and Google Hotel Finder launched (in September and August, respectively),” Hamilton writes. “It would not be a stretch to conclude that the presence of these new Google features in the first SERP results — the travel equivalent of their Product Listing Ads in that they display a provider AND a price — may be poaching large amounts of clickthrough traffic (and thus PPC spend) from the paid ads on the page.” Top travel PPC advertisers in 2012 In 2012, Kayak was the top travel PPC advertiser, according to AdGooroo. It was followed by Priceline, Orbitz, TripAdvisor and CheapOair. Here are the full rankings: 1) Kayak: 883 million impressions 2) Priceline: 699 million impressions 3) Orbitz: 670 million impressions 4) TripAdvisor: 663 million impressions 5) CheapOair: 629 million impressions 6) Expedia: 595 million impressions 7) Booking.com: 538 million impressions 8) Travelzoo: 469 million impressions 9) BookingBuddy: 353 million impressions 10) Hotels.com: 349 million impressions Top travel keywords in Q1 2013 “Enterprise” leads all travel keywords in the first quarter of 2013; in the same quarter last year, the term was No. 4 on the list. “Cheap flights,” last year’s top term, is No. 2 on the list, followed by “hotels,” “travelocity” and “cheap tickets.” “US airways” (No. 11), “rental cars” (No. 17) and “cheap hotels” (No. 21) all saw big jumps in popularity in the past year. “Disney” (No. 20) dropped eight spots from last year, the biggest decline of any of the top 25 travel keywords in Q1 2013. Source: AdGooroo According to comScore , the “Travel – Car Rental” site category received 7.7 million unique visitors in March, up 19 percent from February. AdGooroo notes that “enterprise” has a “remarkable” a 12.1 percent click-through rate (CTR). However, “expedia” boasts a CTR of 29.5 percent, the highest of any of these terms. Hamilton puts this in perspective by saying that nearly one-third of the time a paid ad for Expedia is displayed on a Google search engine results page (SERP) it gets clicked. The average CTR was 8.1 percent. “Vrbo,” which stands for “vacation rental by owner,” is a term that marketers should note. It ranked No. 51 in Q1 2013, up from No. 78 last year, which may spotlight a trend. Meanwhile, searches for “airlines” turned up 10.6 ads per SERP, the most of any term; searches for “greyhound” turned up fewer than one ad per SERP. AdGooroo also notes that “vacation packages” was the term with the most bidders (259), while “greyhound” had the fewest (four). Kenshoo’s “Global Search Advertising Trends” report for the first quarter of 2013 found that global paid search ad spending rose 15 percent year-over-year, driven by a 24 percent increase in U.S. search ad spend. It also found that the average global CTR was 1.7 percent, up from 1.0 percent in the first quarter of 2012. By Jason Hahn The post Paid Search Spend in the Travel Category Is Down 19% so far in 2013, Thanks to Google appeared first on DM Confidential .