According to Mobile Marketer, both paid search clicks and spend increased significantly in the last quarter of 2011.
Mobile Marketer indicated that mobile’s share of paid clicks doubled during the period while retailers increased their mobile search spend by 269 percent. The growth in paid mobile search supports the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets, with consumers increasingly using these devices as part of the shopping experience. During the fourth quarter holiday shopping season, many retailers reported significant increases in mobile traffic as well as sales through mobile devices.
The U.S. Online Advertising Report from Marin also shows that the click through rate of search ads served on smartphones was 31 percent higher than the CTR of ads on desktops when compared with the third quarter of 2011. While a lot of people jumped into making assumptions about how mobile search ads are more engaging, I am not so sure that it is the case. Simply, the mobile search screen differs fundamentally from your PC search screen; in that on your smartphone there are only a couple of ad units that occupy the top of the screen and they resemble organic search results. The visibility of search results on mobile devices is very limited (you need to scroll down to see all the results) and thus the propensity to click on the top results, which are paid ads, is much higher compared to PC searches where consumers see the entire screen. Nonetheless, there is a legitimate argument to be made that mobile search ads have a very attractive click through rate and markets should absolutely leverage specific smartphone optimizations in their SEM campaigns.
I have been watching very closely the numbers following each Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing frenzy. I am not surprised to see such a significant increase in both the mobile click volume and the ad dollars spend on targeting mobile devices.
Incorporating both mobile and tablet strategies into retailers’ overall marketing mix is not a testing opportunity anymore. It is a core component of every successful multichannel marketing campaign. First, leading brands and successful marketers have to learn to optimize campaigns for mobile and tablet experience, and to optimize landing pages to improve conversions. Second, more thought needs to be given to how those devices fit into the overall, fragmented media landscape and how to create a synergistic strategy across all platforms.