Mobile Paid-Search Budgets Up, Marketers Adapt to Medium

Mobile search accounted for 12.3% of the total search advertising budget that marketers dished out in Q1, according to IgnitionOne.

The digital marketing report found that mobile clicks rose 246.1% year-on-year. While impressions jumped 119.9% and ad spend, 221.1%, both experienced slower growth in the first quarter, sequentially.

The digital ad firm attributes much of the mobile search activity to tablet devices. The sector now accounts for 67% of the total mobile search advertising budget in the quarter. Tablet click-through rates (CTR) of 3.1% came in higher than PC rates at 2.5%.

Mobile devices with full browsers showed a higher CTR of 4.4%, likely as a result of the higher reliance on first-position search advertising on the smaller screen.

The travel industry's global search advertising growth rate outpaced retail by a wide margin, with impressions and clicks up year-on-year by 34% and 34%, respectively. It also yielded results for travel with transactions up 79% and revenue up 32% year-on-year. But the average order value declined 26% during the same time frame, suggesting more frequent travel but to less expensive destinations, according to the report.

Roger Barnette, president of IgnitionOne, said it took time before marketers realized that paid-search advertisers would adapt well to the mobile model. Now, many have begun to realize the natural fit between mobile and search. Marketers should only expect the trend to accelerate in the coming year.

Aside from mobile, the Yahoo and Bing alliance demonstrated a significant increase when it came to attracting more advertising dollars. The duo rebounded, rising 46.4% in U.S. search advertising spend year-on-year compared with Google’s 26.6% growth during the same time period.

While Q1 search spend is normally down quarter-over-quarter due to the spike in holiday spending in Q4, Yahoo and Bing posted a 14.3% increase in spend versus Google’s sequential decrease of 5.4%. The findings report that an increase in broad match keyword use, a strategy initiated by Yahoo and Bing, could have contributed to the uptick, leading to more competition in auctions, according to the report. The two also took a combined 21.2% market share -- their best quarter since before the combining forces.

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