Well guys, we did it! WE BEAT THE MAYANS! We got through December and the world didn’t end. Or, if it did, one can hardly tell the difference. I hope you didn’t sell all your possessions or anything rash like that. Awkward!
I’m all about looking forward – 2013 Ho! – but before we rush off into next year, let’s take a quick look back at what happened in 2012, the year that was almost the end.
Our top 10 most popular blog posts this year were:
- What Industries Contributed to Google's $37.9 Billion in 2011 Revenues?  – For our first infographic of the year, we found the top 10 industries that lay out the most cash on AdWords advertising and delved in to figure out what it said about the state of economy in 2011 going into 2012.
- The War on 'Free' Clicks: Think Nobody Clicks on Google Ads? Think Again!  – I’m sure you’ve met plenty of people who smugly proclaim that they NEVER click on Google ads. But our research reveals that sponsored ads actually get more clicks than organic results for highly commercial queries. Most search queries are not commercial in nature, but when people are looking to buy, they seem not to care what’s sponsored and what isn’t (or they can’t tell the difference).
- Google Display Network vs. Facebook Advertising [Infographic]  – Yep, folks, it’s another infographic! This one compares the two largest online display advertising networks in terms of reach, performance, options and other criteria. Facebook may school Google in social, but we think FB could learn a thing or two from Google’s advertising platform.
- PPC Bid Management Guide: The Best Bidding Tips from 18 PPC Experts  – I asked 18 experts on Google AdWords and PPC to share their best bid management tips, their thoughts on automated bidding, and advice on when to raise and lower bids. Packed with awesome info.
- Dealing with Google Analytics (Not Provided) Data  – I guess a lot of people are none too happy with losing all that organic keyword data, huh? In this guest post, Brad Shorr of Straight North discusses some strategies for making marketing decisions without it.
- How to Create a Google AdWords Image Ad  – Thinking about trying out the Google Display Network? Want to set up a remarketing campaign? This quick tutorial covers the basics you’ll need to get started with image and banner ads.
- Top 25 Most Popular YouTube Videos of All Time: What Makes a Video Go Viral?  – Meg’s no stranger to video (check out her hilarious polar bear rap ), so who better to analyze the top 25 YouTube videos for trends?
- 4 Tools for Pinterest Analytics and Monitoring  – The popularity of this guest post by Ann Smarty points to the continuing enthusiasm for Pinterest, the best social network to happen to retailers in forever.
- RIP Exact Match & Phrase Match: Google AdWords Announces Big Changes to Keyword Match Type Options  – Many marketers were angry to see this feature disappear, and surprisingly, Google eventually resurrected it.
- Keyword Not Provided – What Is the esrc=s String in Google Analytics?  – More on the “not provided” fiasco, one of the biggest stories in search marketing this year.
A few more highlights
A few of our top posts (The Changing Economics of Google AdWords , What's a Good Conversion Rate on Google AdWords? ) had to be removed due to violations of Google’s API policy, which changed after we published the content. (We explain the whole story here .) we weren’t the only companies to be affected by changes to Google’s API policy. SEOmoz and Raven Tools were forced to make similar announcements.
A couple of great reference guides you might have missed:
- The Importance of A/B Testing: 24 Marketing Experts on Their Most Surprising A/B Test 
- The 20-Minute PPC Work Week: Weekly Checklist 
We’re mostly a PPC company, but we consider ourselves experts in SEO as well. Some of our best SEO-focused posts include:
- How to Rank for a Keyword in 10 Steps 
- What Is SEO Content? A Beginner's Guide to Creating Content for SEO 
- Pinterest Marketing Guide: How to Use Pinterest to Boost Your Brand 
- 25 Ways to Use AdWords Data for SEO 
- Vanity URL: What It Is, How To Get One, & Why Your Life Is Worse Without Them 
- 10 Reasons SEO Is Harder for Small Businesses 
Then was the Random Thoughts from Larry category:
- Who Will Win the Election Tomorrow? Obama by a Landslide*! 
- Why I Bought Facebook Shares Today  (and the follow-up, “Why I Dumped My Shares at the Open ”)
- Why SEO's (Sometimes) Suck at PPC Marketing 
These are the stories that got the most attention on the WordStream blog. What other news shook you up this year? Marissa Mayer’s leaving Google for Yahoo ? The rise of negative SEO ? Facebook’s surprising Instagram buy  and its billion-dollar pricetag? The over-optimization debates ? Google “Search Plus Your World” ? What did we forget?
And with that, let’s bid this year adieu, shall we? Happy new year to all our readers, clients, and friends of WordStream!