How The Rise Of Mobile Devices Has Affected Search Spend

A few months ago, I published a report about the rise of mobile devices including tablets. In this report, I showed that in a span of less than a year, mobile paid search spend went from 0.5% to 4.2% — an almost 9 fold increase.

In that report, I also projected that by the end of 2011, mobile spend would be between 7 and 9.5% of all paid Search spend. Well, it seems my projections are right on track with current market trends.

When I looked at mobile spend for September 2011, the share is aggressively on the rise.

Here is how Mobile usage stacked up against Desktop usage in September for retail spenders:


CTRs on mobile devices were 37% more than desktop, which is not surprising as there are fewer ads on mobile pages than on desktops. Mobile spend was 7.4% of desktop (or 6.9% of total spend).

When we dig into the granular mobile data that Google Adwords provides, we can look at the traffic split by tablets and smartphones:

What I found as that ad spend on tablets is 77% of all mobile devices! I found this was quite surprising. Further, they also represent 60% of all mobile impressions and clicks.

What This Means To You An Advertisers

  1. Expect more tablet traffic. With more and more tablet devices like Kindle Fire coming on the market, as well as the continued growth of the iPad market, tablet traffic is bound to increase further. While there is little data tracking conversions from tablets, the data we do have suggests that tablet traffic converts identically to desktops.
  2. Get your website mobile ready. As smartphones increase, it will become imperative for your website to be mobile optimized. Google announced recently that keyword quality score for mobile campaigns will be influenced by the level of mobile optimization for your website. So, if your website is not mobile optimized yet, it’s time you think about it.
  3. Google+ and better mobile ROI attribution. From a last-click perspective, mobile campaigns seldom do well. One of the main reasons for this is that surfers on smartphones are often researching products. They convert on desktop or tablets later. However, tracking users across smartphones and then on desktops was not possible. Until now. With Google+ ,the surfer is always logged in to the Google eco system, be it on their smartphone or on their desktop. This will enable Google to better attribute conversions across devices. I expect them to provide cross device attribution reports in the future.

Finally, 2011 has indeed been the year of mobile and the trends that I am seeing are backing all the hype. As an advertiser, its best for you to take note of these trends, prepare your website for the mobile customer to better engage and monetize them.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Search & Analytics


About The Author: is Director, Business Analytics at Adobe. He leads a global team that manages the performance of over $2 BN dollars of ad spend on search, social and display media at Adobe.

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