It’s no great secret that mobile search is becoming increasingly popular and that it will soon become more common than desktop search.
However new data from The Search Agency suggests that there’s some way to go before mobile devices challenge desktop’s dominance of paid search.
Its new Q1 2014 report shows that smartphones accounted for 16.9% of ad impressions, compared to 11.1% on tablet and 72% on desktop.
While proportionately these are large year-on-year increases of 35% on smartphone and 21% on tablet, it should be noted that desktop ads still account for 72% of search impressions.
The report’s authors predict that the current rate of growth will continue, meaning that by the end of 2014 mobile devices will account for more than 40% of paid search impressions.
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Paid search spend
Though smartphones experienced the lion’s share of impression growth (60% vs. 42% tablet vs. 9% desktop), in terms of marketing spend tablet devices saw the largest year-on-year increase.
However the growth in tablet spend is a direct result of Google’s switch to enhanced campaigns, which forced advertisers to bid collectively on desktop and tablet, thereby substantially increasing the year-on-year spend for tablets.
The relative lag in smartphone paid search spend is likely down to the fact that many websites are still not correctly optimised, so marketers don’t want to waste money investing in paid search.
It’s also reflective of the fact that CPCs are generally lower on smartphone, so companies don’t have to allocate as much budget.
The report shows that CPCs on all devices increased during 2013 but have fallen sharply in Q1 2014.
Desktop and tablet CPCs remain slightly higher year-on-year, but smartphone CPCs in Q1 2014 were $0.76 compared to $0.79 in the same period last year.
The Search Agency's data is based on its US clients' PPC spend. Go here to download the full report.