Report: Mobile To Drive A Third Of Paid-Search Clicks By Year End

Marin Software has released a report on paid click, CPC and conversion trends across the globe, with a focus on mobile. Called “The State of Mobile Search Advertising in the World,” the 2012 data are drawn from search campaigns conducted in 13 geographies including the US, UK, China, Europe and Australia.

Some of the findings, however, will effectively be rendered moot by Google’s new Enhanced Campaigns, which lump together PC and tablet targeting and create new default pricing intended, in part, to equalize CPC prices across platforms.

Marin paid clicks from mobile

Source: Marin Software

Marin forecasts in the report that mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) will drive a third of US paid clicks by December 2013. The company says that as of December 2012, mobile devices accounted for 23.4 percent of all US paid-search clicks. Mobile also captured 18.4 percent of search budgets in December.

As with past reports, Marin found that paid search campaigns on smartphones and tablets delivered higher click-through rates (CTR) at a lower cost-per-click (CPC). However, overall, conversions were lower on mobile devices. Because there are relatively few e-commerce sales on smartphones, this metric (“conversions”) is a bit of a misnomer.

Marin 2012 mobile data

Source: Marin Software

As mentioned, all of this is being impacted by Google’s Enhanced Campaigns. It will be more challenging for marketers to separate campaigns by device or reap the benefits of lower mobile CPCs in the future (unless Google changes its policies).

Marin found that CPC prices were rising on smartphones and tablets at rates that outpaced PC paid search CPC growth. Perhaps then, Google was premature in trying to boost mobile CPCs with Enhanced Campaigns.

The report goes on to discuss the same metrics in the UK, Eurozone and Rest of World. When it comes to mobile paid search, the UK mobile market is as developed or more developed than the US and quite a bit ahead of Europe. It’s interesting to note, however, that CPCs in Europe are higher than the UK despite lower levels of mobile search activity.

Marin Europe Data

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Web Search | SEM Industry: Stats | Stats: Search Behavior | Stats: Size | Stats: Spend Projections | Top News

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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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  • Pat Grady

    That Conversion Rate by Device doesn’t look right to me. On a 10-scale, the C/S/T looks like 10/7/8. Our stats, aggregated over many clients, is more like 10/4/12. And we run mobile on fewer campaigns than their non-mobile equivalents, meaning, if we did always run mobile for all, it’d be 10/2.5/12.

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  • Ian Bowland

    From looking after loads of campaigns for clients (largely in the UK) we see that the “mobile” element is enormously skewed by the mobile and tablet issue – google analytics “mobile” element is smartphone and tablet combined. I don’t doubt that “mobile” (smartphone and tablets) is growing quickly and might get to one third of paid search by end of 2013 (one client already at 28%) but just be very careful of the enormous difference in value between a paid mobile (smartphone) search and a paid tablet search. Of “mobile” (mobile and tablet) revenue we see across the vast majority of accounts that tablet revenue equates to 75%+.

    So be vary careful about the bids in Googles New “Enhanced Campaigns”. If you don’t take account of this for your particular account then the enhancement of these new campaigns will only enhance Google’s Revenue!

  • William Bakhos

    This whole Enhanced thing is to put more money in Google’s pockets and improve their average CPC.. they are struggling with this and this can be seen in their latest Q4 results.. but forcing people onto mobile? You can’t opt out, you need to put in -100% bid to get out..

    Looking at the charts below Google could have let the trend to the work but they are forcing it on us.. At least continue giving us control.. not impressed here.

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