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Smartphones accounted for 51% of Google search ad clicks, taking a majority share for the first time in Q4 2016, reports Merkle in its latest quarterly Digital Marketing Report [download page]. By comparison, phones comprised just 27% of search ad clicks on Yahoo Gemini and only 13% of clicks on Bing Ads. Google continued to hog virtually all paid search ad clicks on phones, according to the report.

In fact, some 96% of US paid search clicks on phones occurred on Google, with 3% on Bing Ads and 1% on Yahoo Gemini.

Google maintains a stronger position on mobile devices than on desktops. Almost 9 in 10 search ad clicks from tablets also occurred on Google, compared to 81% of desktop ad clicks.

Overall, smartphones grew to account for 47% share of paid search clicks for the quarter, per the analysis, a sizable increase from one-third of clicks in the year-earlier period. Merkle had previously reported that in Q1 2016 smartphones and tablets combined for a majority share of US paid search clicks for the first time, a finding contained in our Mobile Milestones 2016 Brief.

It’s worth noting that smartphone gains appear to be occurring as tablets play a lesser role. For example, this past quarter tablets produced just 9% of paid search clicks, down from 15% a year earlier. Tablet ad spend also declined by 25% year-over-year, per the report. However, tablet revenue per click improved to 25% lower than desktop revenue, a result better than smartphones (62% lower than desktop revenue).

Turning to organic search, the report indicates that mobile devices now account for a majority – 51% – share of organic search visits. This increase was once again powered by smartphones, which grew to represent 41% of organic search visits among the Merkle clients analyzed, while tablets’ share of visits dropped by 3 points to 10%.

Once again, mobile’s impact was more heavily felt on Google than on other search engines: the report states that smartphones and tablets combined comprised 54% of organic search visits on Google.

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