Rich opportunities abound in mobile paid search

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James Beveridge
James Beveridge

Mobile's share of paid search impressions continues to rise. In January, it was 9.4% of total Google paid search impressions for all campaigns managed by Performics, up 8.4% from the prior month. This caps a year of continuous growth within paid search for mobile, not surprising given that smartphones now outsell PCs.


These trends signal a sea change direct marketers ought to embrace by actively managing mobile paid search separately from computer search. All trends and data indicate mobile's share will only continue to grow. Although overall paid search best practices should be shared across both mobile and computer search campaigns, managing them independently offers the best strategy.


Consider the opportunistic costs per click (CPCs) available in mobile search: Mobile CPCs decreased in December for the seventh straight month, while they averaged just 43.2% the cost of computer CPCs. Marketers not managing mobile paid search independently miss out on this advantageous pricing, but as more dive in, competition and costs will climb. 


Until more advertisers wise up, opportunity abounds. Although month-to-month growth of mobile paid search impressions demonstrates an uptick in search on phones, the year-over-year growth numbers are anything but incremental. Comparing January 2011 to January 2010, mobile impressions grew a whopping 238%, compared to 13% from computers.


With fewer ads on a mobile screen, clicks and click-through rates (CTRs) are also growing. Mobile paid search clicks jumped from 7.6% in November to 9.2% in December of all clicks (computers and mobile), and mobile CTRs surpassed computer CTRs in the fourth quarter. Soon, mobile will generate more than 10% of all Google search clicks and impressions for all of our client programs.


Direct marketers should follow the advice of Google by mirroring their desktop search campaigns for a quick start. But be sure to establish an independent mobile strategy with small screen visibility that spends the search budget wisely. 


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