Mobile Devices Gaining a Greater Share of Search Clicks

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Mobile Search Traffic
A recently released report from Marin Software has found that searches conducted on mobile devices are gaining more and more ground against their desktop and laptop competitors. The report was released this week and included data from 2012; data which suggests that by the end of 2013 mobile searches will account for one-third of paid-search clicks online. The study collected data from 13 regions of the globe, including the U.S., UK, Europe, Australia, and China.

The report from Marin Software was entitled “The State of Mobile Search Advertising in the World,” and looked at paid-click, Cost-per-Click (CPC), and conversion trend data from around the globe with a particular emphasis on the mobile sector. What Marin found was a steadily increasing trend, in the U.S. in particular, toward mobile devices in online search clicks and spending.

From January to December of last year, Marin found a 9.2% increase in the share of clicks from mobile devices from 14.2% up to 23.4%. The report also found that the share of spending from mobile devices had increased significantly from 10% in January to 18.4% by the end of December.

In addition to the increasing market share of mobile devices in the world online searches, Marin Software also noted a number of other factors that contributed to the increasing popularity of mobile devices for searches. Mobile devices generate better click-through rates (CTR) with a lower CPC, making them an ideal market for paid search campaigns to target. As of 2012, smartphones had a CTR that was double that of desktop computers, 4.72% compared to 2.28%. At the same time, CPC costs associated with smartphones averaged $.48 compared to $.75 for desktops.

Across the pond and around the globe, the news is the same for mobile search campaigns. The Marin Software report found similar trends in the UK, Eurozone, and other parts of the globe that it noted in the U.S. In fact, according to the report the UK experienced the most robust growth in terms of mobile search use, outpacing the U.S. in terms of growth for both share of clicks and share of search budgets.

The share of paid clicks for mobile devices jumped in the UK from 14.8% in January to 24.4% in December, with a similar trend occurring in the Eurozone which experienced an increase from 5.9% to 14.5%. Both regions also experienced an increase in the share of campaign budgets devoted to mobile advertising. The UK experienced an increase from 9.94% to 19.32%, while the Eurozone increased from 4.8% to 11.8%.

And, as was the case in the U.S., the CTR and CPC data favored mobile devices in both the UK and Eurozone. Data from the UK in particular shows a robust mobile market that rivals, if not even surpasses, that of the U.S. in terms of its viability. CTR on mobile devices in the UK vastly outpaced desktops, 5.87% compared to just 2.29%. Mobile CPC was also half that of desktop CPC, coming in at just £.15 compared to £.30 for desktops. An interesting note from the data in Europe showed that CPC rates were higher in the Eurozone than the UK despite much lower levels of mobile search activity in the Eurozone.

All the data from the Marin Software report appears to paint a picture of an increasing trend toward mobile devices by consumers and advertisers alike. However, while it is possible that mobile devices could meet the prediction of gaining a one-third share of the market by year’s end, there are also factors coming into play that could hamper growth in the future.

The report noted that smartphones and tablets had a significantly greater change in CPC costs over the course of the year compared to desktops. While the CPC rose on desktops by 9% throughout 2012, smartphones experienced a 13% increase in costs over the year and tablets saw a 25% increase.

Conversion rates are also likely to hamper future growth for the mobile sector. It was found that conversion rates on smartphones in particular still lag behind those of desktops, while tablets have pulled almost level with desktops for average conversion rates. This is the result of fewer ecommerce transactions taking place on smartphones compared to tablets and desktops.

Google’s recent AdWords update, Enhanced Campaigns, is playing a big role in these changes. The Enhanced Campaigns update lumps tablet devices in with desktops and laptops for advertising and creates a greater ability for users to target smartphones. However, that is acting to increase the rates for mobile CPC and prevents advertisers from targeting specific devices now that only two groups exist (smartphones and tablets/desktops/laptops).


Image Credit: © Andres Rodriguez -

About the author
Federico Einhorn
Federico Einhorn
I'm the Founder and CEO at FullTraffic. Since 2005, FullTraffic has evolved to become one of the most important Traffic providers world wide for small to medium sized businesses. - Read more stories from .
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