Tablets and Smartphones Account for One-Fourth of All Paid Clicks

The Search Agency has released its quarterly State of Paid Search Report, which, among other findings, reports that smartphones and tablets drove 23 percent of total clicks in the fourth quarter of 2012, an 89 percent increase year over year. The quarterly report analyzes aggregated client data from various industries on paid search marketing trends across search engines and devices on a year-over-year (YoY—Q4 2011 to Q4 2012) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ—Q3 2012 to Q4 2012) basis.

mobile search engine click share

Additional findings from The Search Agency’s State of Paid Search Report include:

Tablets see record searches; surpass mobile ad spend
The introduction of a number of new tablet models and record sales growth spurred on huge growth in both tablet use and advertiser spend. Tablet click share in Q4 more than doubled YoY and jumped 16 percent from Q3, and smartphones and tablets combined drove 23 percent of total clicks in Q4 2012, an 89 percent increase YoY. The last quarter of 2012 marked the first time in which share of spend on tablets exceeded spend on smartphones (8.5 versus 7.1 percent of total spend).

Google and Yahoo!-Bing Network continue to see growth; Google leads in mobile
Search engine advertising continues to show healthy growth as impressions in Q4 2012 grew 11 percent YoY and total clicks grew 4 percent. Total clicks on Google increased 4 percent YoY and cost per click (CPC) rose 7 percent from $0.55 to $0.59. Bing also showed a 4 percent growth in click traffic, with a 15 percent increase in average CPC YoY. Bing’s mobile impression share and click share increased, but is still substantially less than Google’s impression and click share overall. Google continued to see more paid clicks coming from mobile devices with 25.9 percent of its total clicks coming from tablets and smartphones in Q4, compared to 12.6 percent for Bing.

Product Listings accounted for more than 14 percent of spend on Google
Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continued their strong growth in Q4 2012, accounting for 14 percent of retailers’ total spend on Google in Q4, a 236 percent increase from the previous quarter. Specifically, retailers spent more than 9 percent of their PLA budget on tablets and smartphones, an 80 percent increase from Q3.

Retail surged on mobile during the holidays, but click volume declined YoY
In the retail sector, mobile click share increased from 14.3 percent in Q4 2011 to 26.1 percent in Q4 2012. Retail volume was the driving factor for Q4 growth in comparison to Q3 2012, with a 20 percent increase in click traffic. However, YoY click volume declined 6 percent.

To uncover key trends for the Q4 2012 State of Paid Search Report, The Search Agency extracted client data from search engine advertising tools. The research sample included advertisers who had 15 consecutive months of data with The Search Agency, and had an established and stable business model from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012. All results are based on U.S. campaigns only.

To download the full report, go to http://www.thesearchagency.com/classroom/research/.