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Departmental Internet

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for which Google Adword online advertising keywords his Department and its agencies have paid in the last 12 months; and at what cost. (315468)

Primarily as part of the Act on CO2 campaign, the Department has paid for Google keywords (search words) over the past year to enable people to find information about energy, climate change and carbon reduction actions, quickly and effectively by taking people through to the Act on CO2 website.

The Google Adword system is like an auction and places advertisers in order of prominence according to how much they bid for a relevant keyword. It should be noted however that the actual cost the Department incurs is based on the number of clicks on the sponsored DECC link displayed.

DECC has a specific account which contains keywords built around specific campaign-related themes such as loft insulation and the carbon calculator. There is also an account which is jointly funded with the Department for Transport, containing more generic keywords such as climate change and global warming and Act on CO2 (as this is the call to action for both Departments’ campaigns).

Other Government Departments and agencies such as the Energy Saving Trust sometimes bid for the same keywords as DECC. The amounts each Department pays can be capped, in order to minimise the risk of DECC and these Departments competing against each other for the same search keywords.

The total spend on paid search for DECC over the last 12 months is £361,700 (exclusive of VAT). The total spend for the Energy Saving Trust over the last 12 months is £272,000 (exclusive of VAT).