Mobile Neared 40% of Organic Search Traffic in Q3

RKG-Mobile-Share-Organic-Search-Q2-2012-Q3-2014-Oct2014Mobile devices accounted for 38% of North American organic search visits during the third quarter of this year, up from 27% during the year-earlier period, details RKG Digital in its latest quarterly digital marketing report [download page]. The iPhone alone contributed 13% share of organic search traffic, slightly higher than the iPad’s 11% share, such that Apple devices together accounted for almost one-quarter of US organic search traffic. That’s about twice the share – 12% – of traffic contributed by Android mobile devices.

Mobile’s influence continued to be far higher on Google and Yahoo than on Bing, though mobile’s role jumped significantly for the latter in this past quarter. Overall, smartphones and tablets accounted for 39% of Google organic search traffic during the third quarter, up 3% points quarter-over-quarter and 10% points year-over-year. Mobile devices accounted for an even greater share – 44% – of organic search traffic on Yahoo. That represents a 7% point quarter-over-quarter increase and a 13% point jump from the year-earlier period. While Bing dragged down the overall average as a result of mobile being only 27% of its organic search traffic, that was an impressive 10-point jump from the preceding quarter.

Mobile search visits increased by 45% year-over-year in Q3, although overall organic search traffic grew by just 3%. Organic search traffic grew a point from Q2 to account for 32% of all US site visits.

Meanwhile, mobile’s role was just as pronounced in paid search, as smartphones (20%) and tablets (18%) combined to account for 38% of paid search clicks. Despite generating a slightly higher share of clicks than tablets, smartphones drew just 9% of paid search spending, versus 19% captured by tablet traffic. That’s likely a reflection of conversion rates and average order values being far lower on smartphones than on tablets.

Turning to social media, the report indicates that it continues to be a fractional player in terms of traffic, averaging just 2.2% share of US site visits. Mobile’s share of social site visits held steady from Q2 at 42%. Facebook remained the top referrer of social traffic, though its 53% share was down from 60% a year earlier. Pinterest, the second-largest referrer, grew it share of referrals by 3% points to 18%.

About the Data: Figures are derived from samples of RKG clients who have worked with RKG for each respective marketing channel. Where applicable, these samples are restricted to those clients who 1) have maintained active programs with RKG for at least 19 months, 2) have not significantly changed their strategic objectives or product offerings, and 3) meet a minimum ad spend threshold. All trended figures presented in the report represent same-site changes over the given time period.