Marin Software Research Reveals Search, Instagram Stories, and Product-Focused Ads Dominate in Q4


Marin Software Research Reveals Search, Instagram Stories, and Product-Focused Ads Dominate in Q4

Monthly Spending on eCommerce Channel Ads Increased by 5x Since January 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – February 6, 2019 – Marin Software, a leading provider of digital marketing software for performance-driven advertisers and agencies, today released research findings from its global Q4 2018 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report. Marin Software’s research confirms that search spend grew 10% globally year-over-year, advertisers spent larger portions of their budgets on Instagram Stories, and advertisers continued to invest in lower-funnel product-focused ads to take advantage of the holiday shopping season and continued rise of eCommerce.

Marin Software presents its full Q4 2018 research, results, and takeaways in an interactive format that allows viewers to review and analyze ad spending trends by region, industry, and publisher. Key findings include:

  • Instagram Stories and Dynamic Product Ads Rule: Instagram received 18% of total Facebook spend, with 34% of that spend allocated to Instagram Stories—a 36% increase from the previous quarter. Other notable social trends included a significant shift in year-over-year spend to lower-funnel formats like Dynamic Product Ads and Collection Ads, which maximize the mobile experience with alluring, high-quality, product-focused ads. Dynamic Product Ads accounted for 35% of total Facebook spend in Q4.
  • eCommerce on the Rise: Google Shopping Ads captured 36% of search spend for all verticals. Shopping Ads remained retail advertisers’ bread and butter, as eCommerce search engines increasingly join the quest to deliver relevant, targeted experiences. According to Marin Software data, monthly spending on eCommerce channel ads increased 5x since January 2018.
  • Paid Search Up, CTRs Down: Paid search spend grew 10% globally year-over-year. Q4 remained the strongest quarter, with Financial Services (+25%) and Retail (+12%) leading the charge. As inventory gets more expensive, however, more spend doesn't necessarily mean more clicks—there was a modest 10% increase year-over-year in Retail, less than the search spend for the vertical.
  • Search CPCs Vary by Vertical: Travel clocked the lowest global CPC in Q4 at $0.45, followed by Retail at $0.48. Education and and Technology represented the highest CPCs in Q4, at $2.92 and $1.51, respectively.
  • Mobile Search Holds Steady: Mobile accounted for 36% of search spend share in Retail and 41% of spend share across all verticals in Q4. Mobile continued to be a crucial touchpoint for product purchasing decisions, especially during the fast-paced and competitive holiday season.

“eCommerce is growing as an advertising channel and as a result, we’re seeing the industry shift more spend toward lower-funnel ad formats, such as Google Shopping Ads and Dynamic Product Ads on Facebook, that allow brands to capture consumers’ attention at the most critical points in the purchase journey,” said Wesley MacLaggan, SVP of Marketing at Marin Software. “Instagram Stories has been another up-and-coming ad format that the industry is paying close attention to. With 400 million daily active users, advertisers are flocking to this format to take advantage of the direct attention of a massive audience. It’s a lower-cost yet effective alternative to Instagram Feed ads.”

To create its Q4 2018 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report, Marin Software aggregated data from customers who invest billions of dollars in combined annualized ad spend on paid search, social, mobile, and eCommerce. Marin Software only includes those advertisers active on its platform for the past five quarters, measuring key performance indicators on a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis, and removing any outliers with significant YoY or QoQ changes.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, statements regarding Marin’s business, research, and product capabilities. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual results due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to, our ability to grow sales and marketing capabilities, retain and attract personnel, develop and release new features, increasing competition in our market, fluctuations in our operating results and inability to forecast financial metrics, and other general market, political, economic, and business conditions.

These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to uncertainties and changes in condition, significance, value, and effect as well as other risks and uncertainties detailed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent report on Form 10-K, recent reports on Form 10-Q, and current reports on Form 8-K which Marin Software may file from time to time, all of which are available free of charge at the SEC’s website at Any of these risks could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this press release reflect Marin Software’s expectations as of February 6, 2019. Marin Software assumes no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to update, any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.

About Marin Software

Marin Software Incorporated's (NASDAQ: MRIN) mission is to give advertisers the power to drive higher efficiency and transparency in their paid marketing programs that run on the world's largest publishers. Marin Software offers a unified SaaS ad management platform for search, social, and eCommerce advertising. We help digital marketers convert precise audiences, improve financial performance, and make better decisions. Headquartered in San Francisco with offices worldwide, Marin Software's technology powers marketing campaigns around the globe. For more information about Marin Software, please visit

Media Contacts
Wesley MacLaggan
Marketing, Marin Software
(415) 399-2586

Emily Adams
SHIFT Communications
(617) 779-1891

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