Facebook, Google and multiple other players are in a battle for dominance in the digital advertising market, and while once Google was the undisputed leader, now Facebook is presenting a huge threat. Adobe has released its third quarter Digital Advertising and Social Intelligence Report, which covered analysis of data from more than 900 billion digital ad impressions on major search and social platforms and more than 23 billion referred visits from social platforms over the last year.

Adobe Digital Index found several interesting trends across the digital ad market pertaining to how the biggest players stack up to each other.

Facebook driving changes at Google

One of the most interesting trends Adobe found was that Facebook’s excellence in ad personalization is clearly threatening Google. Google recently made some changes to its ad business in an attempt to counter Facebook’s dominance in this area. The search giant now offers Customer Match to improve targeting based on users’ search histories.

Adobe believes this is a direct response to the threat from Facebook, as consumers are finding that ads on the social network tend to be 51% more relative than Google’s display ads. Adobe Digital Index believes that most of Google’s display ads are on YouTube.

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Because of the better relevance, Facebook’s click-through rates have climbed 35% since last year, which means advertisers are spending more on the platform.

Facebook leads in revenue per visit

Relevance goes hand in hand with the quality of the ad impressions served up to users. Adobe Digital Index believes Facebook’s recent moves demonstrate its desire to keep improving the quality of the impressions on its site and that those moves are paying off, as indicated by the social network’s growth in this area.

Facebook holds a commanding lead with the highest referred revenue per visit, although this metric is increasing across the board.

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Meanwhile click-through rates on Google paid searches only climbed 16% over the last year, while click-through rates on the search giant’s display ads climbed 25% year over year.

Bing beats Google

Another interesting data point Adobe found was that Microsoft’s Bing beat Google in growth for paid search spend over the last year in all parts of the world except North America, where the two were tied.

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However, the firm notes that Google “remains in the catbird seat,” as it has 71% of the market of paid search spend in North America. Also Google is still dominating in click-through rate growth, as it saw a 16% year over year increase.

Retail drives highest growth in paid searches

Adobe noted that retail remains the growth leader in paid searchers, and the firm doesn’t expect that to change, particularly as we head into the holiday shopping season.

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Here’s a look at Adobe’s projections for growth in paid search spend for the fourth quarter by major industry:

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Adobe noted that the Automotive sector is especially driving increases in revenue as cost per click for the sector has climbed 14% since last year thanks to the strong increase in click-through rates.

Digital advertising affected by macro forces

Adobe Digital Index also found that the macroeconomic climate around the world is affecting the digital ad industry as a whole. North America is leading in growth in paid search spend, while Asia Pacific’s growth is the lowest, likely due to the problems in China.

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Adobe Digital Index attributes North America’s lead to the relative strength of the economy in the U.S. The firm reports that click-through rates also continue to rise in North America, although cost per click is flat year over year.

All graphs in this article are courtesy Adobe.