NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The search advertising market is coming back, and Microsoft's Bing is slowly gaining share of search-ad dollars.
With Google's third-quarter earnings announcement coming Thursday, two digital agencies released aggregate client search-spending data from the third quarter.
The takeaway: Search spending among U.S. marketers is on the rise, gaining from the second quarter and getting close to matching spending levels of a year ago after several quarters of decline.
Search spending was up 10% from the second quarter among SearchIgnite clients, which includes Office Depot, Avis and E-Trade, and up 5% at Efficient Frontier, whose clients include Bankrate, BabyCenter.com and CapitalOne.
That and the $100 million Microsoft put into marketing Bing has started to bear fruit. Previously released reports from Hitwise and ComScore have shown traffic gains for Bing, but the new agency reports say ad spending is also up.
SearchIgnite has spending on Bing up 15% from the same period last year and Efficient Frontier said spending on the search engine is up 20%. Even with those gains, however, it is still a niche player. Bing accounted for 6% of all search spending in the third quarter, according to SearchIgnite, and 5.32% according to Efficient Frontier.
Google and Yahoo accounted for 77% and 17%, respectively, of spending among SearchIgnite clients, and 74% and 21% among Efficient Frontier clients.
"Marketers spend where they make money -- they are agnostic to Google or Yahoo or Bing," said said Roger Barnette, president of SearchIgnite, which manages $350 million in search advertising a year.
Paid search advertising is the most immediate indicator of marketing spending because is bought in near real-time, compared with display advertising campaigns, which are planned months in advance. In addition to SearchIgnite and Efficient Frontier, Citibank analyst Mark Mahaney wrote that Performics and Covario were also anticipating about 10% growth in search spending over the second quarter.
Among SearchIgnite clients, the quarter to quarter jump is the biggest in two years, Mr. Barnette said.
"It's the most fluid form of online media with the least amount of planning so it's probably the most accurate marketing bellwether for the overall consumer," he said.