Report: 25 Percent Of Search Clicks Now From Mobile Devices

Nexus phone and tabletsThe Search Agency has released its “State of Paid Search Report” for Q4 2012. It follows similar reports from Marin Software, IgnitionOne, RKG and Kenshoo and contains a range of data based on US client campaigns.

Overall The Search Agency observed that paid search is experiencing a “healthy growth rate.” Impressions, CPCs and paid clicks all grew in Q4. But, consistent with findings in other reports, the share of searches generated by smartphones and tablets grew significantly in Q4.

Unlike some other reports The Search Agency says these did not come at the expense of the PC:

Desktops computer searches remained level from Q3 2012 to Q4 2012, while mobile experienced an increase in search share. This demonstrates the industry’s steady growth and good health. 

While mobile growth outpaced search on the PC overall, Google was the primary beneficiary of much of that activity. According to the report, Google saw 25.9 percent of total paid clicks coming from tablets and smartphones in Q4. That compared with 12.6 percent for Bing.

Search Agency Google Click Share by Device

The firm says that CPCs are still quite a bit lower on tablets and smartphones than they are on the PC. Echoing the reports from Marin and IgnitionOne, The Search Agency reports that growth of tablet spending and CPCs is outpacing smartphones. Indeed smartphone CPC prices have declined from a year ago.

This is likely due to the challenges of measuring mobile ROI and marketers’ limited and often myopic thinking about the subject.

CPCs - tablets, PCs, smartphones

In Q4 just under 25 percent of search clicks were coming from non-PC devices. That’s a fairly dramatic increase from a year ago, when it was less than 13 percent. Tablet share has grown faster than smartphone share. And Q1 2013 may see a further acceleration of tablet impression and click share.

Click share across devices

The report also features data on Product Listing Ads and paid search trends by vertical. The full report is available on the Search Agency site.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Google: Web Search | Search Marketing: Mobile | Stats: Popularity | Stats: Size | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Larry Kim

    but the search share of mobile is 50%. meaning, nearly half of all 3.3 billion Google searches per day are done on mobile, but the clicks from mobile devices account for just 25%?

  • Garen Der-Grigorian

    i think the reason why you see fewer paid clicks on mobile is due to the limited serp real estate on a mobile phone. on a pc, you have the right rail which expands the number of ppc listings above the fold.

  • sharithurow

    Hi all-

    Garen, you are completely right. Allocation of screen real estate with mobile devices forces companies and organizations to prioritize in ways they never had to previously.

    Think about it. Having a paid ad and organic search listings means that a website has increased screen real estate on a SERP, making it more likely that searchers will click on a link to the site (rather than having one or the other exclusively).

    I understand the volume of mobile reach has increased, but mobile (as with all other things) must be taken in context. Some websites/industries absolutely need a killer mobile presence. Others don’t. Over time…and I do mean a longer period of time than our “I-want-it-yesterday” Internet mentality imagines…we’ll probably see mobile have a more accurate reach than what is being reported now.

    I have clients whose desktop/tablet designs are fine. I have others who use responsive design. I have others who have separate sites (and use dynamic serving). It really does depend on the industry and the industry’s context.

    My 2 cents.

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