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RKG-Mobile-Share-of-Search-Engine-Traffic-in-Q4-2012-Jan2013RKG’s latest quarterly report [download page] covering client activity across various marketing channels contains a host of notable statistics and trends. One of those is the continuing rise of mobile’s share of organic and direct traffic, which increased to almost 20% in Q4 2012. The study shows that mobile activity on Google far outpaced Yahoo and Bing. Factoring in estimated iOS 6 visits, the report finds that 27% of Google searches were mobile, compared to 19% for Yahoo and just 6% for Bing. Without accounting for iOS 6, mobile traffic accounted for 23% share of Google traffic for the quarter.

The iOS 6 estimates became necessary when “Apple moved to default its Safari search bar to Google’s Secure SSL search in iOS 6,” as the report explains, also noting that “rather than deliver a referred scrubbed of the search query, as it does for secure desktop searches, Google does not pass a referrer at all for secure mobile searches, and analytics packages are unable to correctly attribute secure organic search traffic to the correct channel. For Q4, this change had the effect of reducing measured organic search traffic by approximately 10% on average.” For the report, the company attempted to provide accurate estimates of the full organic picture by taking that change into account.

All told, iOS devices accounted for the majority of mobile’s search and direct traffic share in Q4, according to the report, with 14% of total traffic divvied up between the iPad (7.3%) and iPhone (6.7%).

Other Findings:

  • Bing outpaced Google in year-over-year spending growth (54% vs. 19%), click growth (39% vs. 14%) and costs per click (CPCs – 11% vs. 3%).
  • Mobile held 20% share of paid clicks and 15% of paid search spend in Q4. Tablet spending grew more rapidly than smartphone spending, aligning with results from IgnitionOne.
  • Google Product Listing Ads accounted for 28% of Google non-brand clicks, with CPCs 26% lower than for competitive text ads.
  • Cost per thousand (CPMs) for the Facebook Exchange were less than half of those for the average display ad, while revenue per click was 25% larger.
  • The number of marketing touches per order grew from 3.5 in Q3 to 4.3 in Q4, although three-quarters of orders still involved a single channel.

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 this report represent the average same-site change over the given time period.

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