Tablet devices and smartphones showing strong gains in search share: report

A report has highlighted that tablets and smartphones, while still in early stages of adoption relative to desktop computers, are showing strong and accelerating gains in search share.

According to Marin Software’s U.S. Online Advertising Report, mobile and tablet users accounted for 10 percent of all U.S. search ad clicks during Q4 2011. This represents a doubling of click share as a percent of total since Q3, 2011. 

In Q4 2011, paid search marketers allocated a larger portion of budgets to mobile devices than ever before.

Matt Lawson, vice president of Marketing and Partnerships at Marin Software, said ,“Given the favourable performance characteristics of mobile advertising today, we expects this trend to continue as advertising dollars begin to chase consumer behaviour.”

During Q4 2011, 10 percent of all clicks on paid search ads in the U.S. were made either on a tablet (four percent) or a smartphone (six percent). Ads served to tablet devices provided a 37 percent higher CTR than ads on desktops while smartphones yielded a 31 percent higher CTR. The company highlighted that growth in consumer adoption has been a strong driver of click volume growth on these devices. Additionally, spend allocation on mobile and tablet devices is also growing very quickly and marketers are realising solid performance across both mobile and tablet devices.

Other key findings:

·          Across Google, Yahoo and Bing, paid search spend increased 35 percent, click volume increased 56 percent, CTR increased 23 percent and cost per click (CPC) decreased 14 percent during Q4 2011 on a year over year basis. The combination of improving CTRs and declining CPC, point to significant efficiency gains for advertisers over the past year.

·          Compared to 2010, search advertisers on Google saw a 48 percent increase in clicks during Q4 2011 without an accompanying increase in impressions. CTR on Google also increased 48 percent while CPC decreased 7 percent, suggesting large-scale advertisers realised efficiency gains through improved matching and more effective bidding.

·          On Yahoo and Bing, impressions increased 43 percent on a year over year basis, most likely as a result of advertisers building more robust search campaigns and increasing spend on the Search Alliance. Compared to Q4 2010, Yahoo and Bing advertisers realised a 44 percent increase in click volume, a nine percent increase in CPC and a one percent boost in CTR during Q4 2011.


Specialists recommend that with for mobile one should be laser focused on making it easier for users to complete their task, while for the tablet user one should let users explore and connect with the content.

Recently, in an interview with EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta, Sam Shank, CEO, HotelTonight, mentioned that efficient task completion is an important consideration for all ecommerce products. When designing for a small screen, for instance mobile devices, and the user is likely in the midst of doing something else, a focus on task completion is paramount.

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