Mobile Users Click But Don’t Convert

macquarie-mobile-device-search-performance-v-desktop-nov11.gifSearch advertisers experience higher click-through-rates (CTR) for mobile phone and tablet search campaigns than for desktop search campaigns, at 166% and 137% respectively, according to a November 2011 report from Macquarie Group that uses data from Efficient Frontier advertisers. Data from the report indicates that across its advertiser clients, Efficient Frontier found that mobile conversion rates were at just 31% of the average desktop campaign’s, while tablet conversion rates were much more on par (96%). Meanwhile, the average cost-per-click (CPC) on mobile phone search campaigns was slightly higher (108%) than for desktop search campaigns, although CPCs for tablet campaigns were on average 85% of desktop search campaign CPCs.

Mobile ROI Jumps, But Remains Behind

Lower conversions for mobile search campaigns resulted in ROI of only 50% of the desktop campaigns, although this represents a significant spike from mid-2010, when mobile ROI was only about 10% of desktop levels. According to Macquarie insight, however, for those Efficient Frontier clients that market high-end/high-value products and services, tablet campaign ROI was more than 50% higher than the comparable desktop metrics.

Tablet Use Peaks Late in Day

macquarie-ef-device-impression-times.jpgThe report also found that search activity on desktops, smartphones, and tablets tends to pick up at 8am, with peak usage for all devices occurring in the evening. Mobile phone impressions tend to peak first at about 7pm, followed by desktops at 8pm, and tablets at 10pm. Tablets’ relatively later peak time corresponds with Q1 data from Nielsen, which found that 70% of tablet owners use their devices while watching TV, while another 57% use them while lying in bed.

Mobile Has Shortest Query Lengths

Search engine query lengths appear to correspond with screen size: desktop queries have the longest average word length (2.57) and character length (22.16), followed by tablets (2.1 and 20.22 respectively), and mobile phones (1.18 and 18.12 respectively).

According to September data from Experian Hitwise, roughly 9 in 10 US search queries that month consisted of 5 words or less, while about 7 in 10 consisted of three words of less. One-word queries led with about 26% of the monthly total, while two-word queries followed with 24%.

About the Data: The Macquarie Group analysis was completed with an index built on data from Efficient Frontier’s search engine marketing customers. More than 3 billion monthly impressions representing 30 plus customers were analyzed for the report.