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What Paid Search Includes in 2022

07 Jun 2022 Danielle Martinez

in Retail, SEM

As digital advertising continues to grow, the need for digital expertise is at an all-time high. eMarketer projects that by 2023, U.S. adults will spend nearly 8.5 hours per day with digital media. This accounts for nearly 65% of total time spent with media. In the current landscape, it makes sense for brands to reach their target consumers on the platforms where those consumers spend the most time.

At this point, most everyone knows what paid search is and has been served a digital ad. Savvy consumers have an understanding of how paid search works. However, do you know what the full breadth of this vast ecosystem entails? My aim is to outline all that paid search encompasses in the 2022 landscape.

Paid Search is one of the most effective and efficient ways for brands to reach their target consumers. While this makes paid search extremely beneficial for brands, it’s also beneficial for consumers: they can quickly and effectively find what they are looking for. Paid search is constantly evolving to meet consumer trends and needs. To effectively manage paid search requires a deep understanding of the advertising platforms and their respective tactics, the algorithms impacting performance, and a passion for analytics. This constant change is why our Stella Rising team prioritizes learning and being at the forefront of all new technologies.

Paid search is traditionally thought of as primarily a Google Ads channel; however, the same strategic expertise can easily be applied across Amazon and other high demand marketplaces such as Walmart.com, Instacart, and YouTube; paid search is an extremely marketable (no pun intended) and diverse channel.

The current paid search landscape includes Google Ads, Bing Ads, Amazon Advertising, Walmart Marketplace, and YouTube. Within each of these platforms, we can identify the keywords, categories, products, audiences, and ASINs to target. We are constantly evaluating current and historical performance to gain an understanding of what is and isn’t working to achieve the goals for each of our brands. Each platform is unique, with its own set of capabilities:


Google Ads remain the staple of paid search with over 259 million unique users, 4.8B daily interactions, and over 5B search queries a day. Brands spent $61.85B on the platform in 2021 and are projected to reach $70.15B by the end of this year.

YouTube is the second-most-visited site in the world, with about 1B hours of content watched per day. Brands spent $6.50B on the platform in 2021 and are projected to reach $8.02B by the end of this year.


Amazon Advertising is increasingly important in the paid search space due to the high purchase intent of users on the platform. Brands spent $24.18B in 2021 on Amazon Ads and 2022 spend is projected to reach $31.43B.


Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S.—largely due to its strength in brick and mortar—though its online marketplace scope is increasing dramatically. Walmart ecommerce sales are expected to rise 17.3% in 2022, to $71.93B, up from $22.11B five years ago. Walmart+, in-home delivery, and express delivery have driven that growth; Walmart has done an excellent job leveraging its brick and mortar strength to drive ecommerce. Brands spent about $1.6B on Walmart advertising in 2021.


There is a misconception that no one is searching on Bing Ads; in fact, about 7% of global users leverage Bing for search. Bing is unique in that it captures those users not using Google as their search engine at all. In 2021, Bing ad spend totaled $4.66B.


Chart: Ad spend in billions


Via paid search, we continuously test different aspects of our campaigns across each of these platforms: ad messaging, audience and location targeting, bid adjustments, smart bidding strategies, ROAS goals, impression share targets, top of page bid increases, and much more. We report on current performance and provide in depth analysis and new recommendations to continue driving success for our clients’ business.

We have a diverse team of paid search specialists here at Stella Rising that allow us to excel in delivering on client needs. Each team member has their own specialty and area of focus. We excel in collaborating with one another to share insights gathered from our testing and believe that talent diversity is essential to the success of a business because a diverse team is more likely to understand a client’s needs and brainstorm ideas to fulfill them. We believe that the best way to drive success across all that paid search encompasses in 2022 is through a knowledgeable, diverse, and curious team built to share information across verticals, channels, and platforms.


Sources: Statista, “Global Market Share of Search Engines 2010-2022,” March 2022, eMarketer: “How Stores Are Helping Walmart Grow Its Ecommerce Sales,” June 2 2022, “US Ad Spending 2022,” May 2022, “The Importance of Agile Marketing in Today’s Shifting Media Landscape,” July 2021

Retail SEM