Google's Big Gamble: How Google Instant Paid Off

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Marin Software unveils key research showing the release of Google Instant to be a win-win for users, advertisers and Google.

Marin Software, provider of the leading paid search management platform for advertisers and agencies, today unveiled the results of an exclusive study it conducted analyzing the effects of Google Instant on paid search campaigns for some of the world’s largest search marketers. Results of this study are now available at: .


  •     Launched on September 8, 2010, Google Instant is a new search enhancement to Google Search. With Instant, Google now predicts search queries and begins showing results as the user types, reducing the amount of time it takes to perform a search.
  •     While many advertisers and industry analysts have expressed concerns over how Google Instant will impact search marketing, the results of the study by Marin Software found these concerns to be unfounded. On average, impressions and clicks rose for large advertisers following the launch of Google Instant, with costs-per-click falling slightly, resulting in increased volume and improved campaign ROI for advertisers.

Key Findings:

  •     Marin Software studied the effects of Google Instant across a sample of clients that collectively manage over $1.3 billion dollars in annualized paid search spend. The longitudinal study compared data for the same set of keywords from the two weeks prior and the two weeks following the launch of Google Instant.
  •     Search users have responded positively to Google Instant as evidenced by increased engagement with search. Marin found that overall impressions for paid search ads increased by more than 9%, while clicks increased by more than 5% – implying that people are actually searching and clicking more as a result of Google Instant.
  •     Overall advertiser costs rose by less than 2% for the time period studied as a result of increased click volumes. Despite these increased costs, advertisers have benefitted from Instant. With average cost-per-click rates falling by over 3%, advertisers are now getting more value for their money as a result of Google Instant.
  •     Additional research from the study indicates that while Google Instant led to increases in impressions and conversions across the board, ads for shorter queries benefited more than ads for long queries, indicating that the predictive nature of Google Instant may be biasing users towards searching for common phrases.

“Google Instant was seen as a big gamble for Google when the company announced it, but it’s proved to be a positive change for the industry,” said Matt Lawson, vice-president of marketing, Marin Software. “Google has pulled off the elusive win-win-win with the release of Instant, driving increased usability for consumers and increased volume for advertisers, while managing to increase their slice of the overall search pie in the process.”

Link to Marin Software’s Research Brief
About Marin Software
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About Marin Software:
Marin Software provides the leading paid search management platform for advertisers and agencies worldwide. The company’s flagship product, Marin Search Marketer® is designed to address the workflow, analysis, and optimization needs of enterprise-class marketers, saving time and improving financial performance. More than 500 brands rely on Marin Search Marketer to manage and optimize in excess of $1.3 billion in annual search spend. Leading advertisers and agencies using Marin Software include Razorfish, Neo@Ogilvy, University of Phoenix, Macy’s, KAYAK, PriceGrabber, and Reply.

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Kari Moe Straley
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