Recent reports from IgnitionOne and Marin Software indicate that mobile is at the forefront of paid search growth, and the latest quarterly trend report from Performics appears to support mobile’s growth. Looking at its aggregate client base, Performics notes that mobile paid search spend accounted for 17.8% of all paid search spend in March 2012, up from 14.7% in December 2011, and more than triple the 5.1% share it held a year earlier. In fact, in dollar volume, the report notes that spend volume is close to 5 times higher on a year-over-year basis, as advertisers have jumped into the fray to catch this trend.
Even so, mobile is not cannibalizing desktop, just growing at a faster pace.
Impression Share Peaks in March
Data from the “Performics Mobile Search Benchmarks & Trends Q1 2012″ report indicates that the share of impressions held by mobile peaked in March, at 18.6%, up from its previous peak of 16.6% in December. Mobile’s share of impressions almost doubled on a year-over-year basis, from 10.7% in March 2011.
According to the report, tablets now account 32.1% of mobile spend, and 39.6% of all impressions, with the latter representing a 12.1% month-over-month increase.
Mobile Reaches 1 in 4 Clicks
Meanwhile, mobile paid clicks also hit a peak in March, at 24.6% share of all clicks, up from its previous high of 21.8% in December. In terms of click volume, March still trailed December, though. The 24.6% share held by mobiles and tablets in March was a dramatic increase from the 9.5% share held just a year earlier.
Tablets accounted for 36.5% of mobile clicks in March.
Cost per click rates (CPCs) on tablets are 85% of desktop CPCs, while smartphone CPCs are 55% of desktop CPCs. This is similar to Q1 results from Marin Software, which found CPCs on tablets to be 24.1% lower than on computers ($0.63 vs. $0.83), with smartphones sporting the lowest of all ($0.53)
Click-through rates (CTRs) for mobiles and tablets combined increased by 9.8% month-over-month, and 25.2% year-over-year in March, remaining ahead of desktop CTRs, according to the Performics report. The March increase was driven by mobile devices (up 18.2% month-over-month) rather than tablets, which decreased 2.1%. Performics insight suggests that Google is providing advertisers with more opportunities for enhanced listings on smartphones, which occupy more space, driving the higher CTRs. Similar results were found in an iProspect report [download page] released in April 2012: smartphone CTRs for its 45 retail clients during the 2011 holiday season exceeded all other devices, averaging 9.3%, more than triple that of desktop PPC ads.