Earlier this month, I highlighted Marin’s State of Mobile Search Advertising report which predicted that 24% of paid search clicks on  Google will come from mobile devices by year end. But Google’s not the only game in town. A new study shows that more marketers may be turning to Yahoo!/Bing for their search needs this year.

Yahoo! has been in the news lately because of the financial turmoil at the company. Regardless of what’s going on in the executive suite, marketers seem to like what the Yahoo!/Bing partnership is offering them in terms of search. So far this year, Yahoo!/Bing is showing a 46.4% increase in U.S. search ad revenue. This spike is unusual because the first quarter of any year often results in lower search spending, especially when compared to the fourth quarter during which heavy holiday-related spending occurs. The lower spending trend was obvious in Google’s decrease of 5.4% in search revenue for the first quarter. Analysts speculate that some of the changes Yahoo!/Bing has employed are working. This includes “increased utilization of broad match keywords which led to more competition in auctions.” As a result, Yahoo!/Bing now has 21.2% of the search market.

Analysts believe the search market is off to an unusually strong start this year. Even sectors that are usually soft early in the year are showing higher than normal search activity. For example, travel impressions and clicks were both up over 30% and search spend in the travel vertical rose nearly 60%.

Not surprisingly, the mobile market has drive mobile search up 221% this year.  Currently about 2/3’s of mobile search stems from tablet devices and the balance from mobile phones.  With the huge interest in mobile continuing this year, marketers will  boost media buys in this format and for the first time in a long time Yahoo!/Bing is attracting growing interest.

[Source: Global Online Advertising Report. IgnitionOne. 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2012]