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RKG-Mobile-Share-of-Organic-Search-Visits-in-Q42013-Jan2014Smartphones and tablets combined to account for 32% of Google organic search visits during the fourth quarter, up from 30% share a quarter earlier, according to the latest quarterly digital marketing report [download page] from RKG. Google took back the lead in mobile search share from Yahoo, which saw its share of search visits generated from smartphones and tablets drop a point to 31%. Google’s 32% figure in Q4 represents a 5-point increase from a year earlier.

RKG-Mobile-Share-Search-Visits-Q2-2012-Q4-2013-Jan2014Overall, mobile’s share of organic search visits increased again in Q4 2013, up a point quarter-over-quarter to reach 29%. That’s up from 20% a year earlier, although as RKG notes (and the chart demonstrates), the increases decelerated during the latter half of the year. RKG believes that slowdown is the result of the search engines’ “efforts to better monetize mobile traffic and advertisers’ more aggressive stance with paid listings during the Q4 holiday season.”

Notwithstanding that deceleration, mobile’s growth in organic search visits (28% year-over-year in Q4) far outpaced overall growth in organic search visits (+5%).

Other Findings:

  • Mobile generated 32% of paid search traffic (16% each for smartphones and tablets), and represented 35% of Google paid clicks and 24% of clicks for Bing ads.
  • Smartphones (7%) and tablets (18%) combined to generate one-quarter of paid search spend. Covario reports [download page] the same share for smartphones but a smaller share for tablets (13%) among its clients in Q4.
  • Smartphone revenue-per-click (RPC) was 69% lower than desktops and laptops in Q4, an improvement from 74% lower a quarter earlier, while tablet RPC was about 10% lower.
  • The iPad’s share of tablet paid search traffic dipped 3% points year-over-year to 84%.
  • Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) accounted for 42% of Google non-brand ad clicks. Compared to non-brand text ads, PLAs had an 18% higher ROI and a 59% higher conversion rate.
  • Social media referred 1.3% share of all site visits, with Facebook continuing to account for the lion’s share (57%). Pinterest grew to account for 14% of social visits.
  • Smartphones and tablets accounted for 31% of social media referral visits in Q4, up from 18% share a year earlier.
  • Advertisers running both Amazon Product Ads and Google PLAs are seeing about 9 times more sales volume on the latter than the former.
  • Ad spending on the Facebook Exchange (FBX) increased by 20% quarter-over-quarter, with FBX sporting a higher ROI than display ads.
  • Revenue attributed to affiliates would decrease by 43% if a site were to switch from a last-touch to a first-touch attribution model.
  • About three-quarters of orders involve only a single interaction, although the average order involves 3-4 touches.

About the Data: Figures are derived from samples of RKG clients who have worked with RKG for each respective marketing channel. Where applicable, the 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 the average same-site change over the given time period.

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