Heavy Mobile Use to Impact Future of Search

Paid search continues to be a strong performer for marketers. This sector is still dominated by 2 key players, Google and Yahoo!/Bing, but the nature of consumer searches is driving change. The Search Agency reports that the highest click-​through rates on Google comesearch from smartphones, while on Yahoo!/Bing, tablets are the big winners. Marketers should be adjusting their paid search strategy to keep up with changing consumer behavior.

The numbers recently made available by the Search Agency are based on advertisers who work with them on U.S. campaigns. This report doesn't cover the entire paid search industry but the data reveals general trends in the industry.

For this group of marketers, the CTR has been steadily dropping over the past couple of years and now averages 1.91%. The average CTR at Google is 2.06% and at Yahoo!/Bing it's 1.39%. Each CTR costs marketers an average of $0.98, with Google coming in at $1.10 and Yahoo!/Bing at $0.96. Overall, marketer spending by device type breaks out as:

  •  Desktop 71.3%
  • Tablet 16%
  • Smartphone 12.7%

The study also shows a key difference between these two platforms with respect to CTR by device. Consumers who launch searches through Google on smartphones click through at a 3.1% rate.  For Yahoo!/Bing, searches launched on tablets deliver the highest CTRs, 2.4%.  While Yahoo!/Bing’s CTR rate for desktop searches has hovered between 1% and 1.3% in the past year, at Google, the rate has steadily fallen to 1.8%. Not surprisingly, Google dominates industry-​wide searches with 78.8% of impressions delivered.

The Search Agency report also delves into what marketers in specific  industries are paying for CPC :

  • Financial services $1.69
  • Business services $1.54
  • Travel and leisure $1.41
  • Retail/​eCommerce $1.23
  • Healthcare $1.17
  • Consumer services $0.81
  • Real estate and construction $0.56

Analysts note that these sectors are all seeing growth in clicks. Meanwhile, publishers are trying to close the gap between what they earn from a desktop click versus a mobile click. As more traffic moves to mobile devices, the discount associated with these platforms should continue to shrink.

To learn more about Search Engine Marketing Responders, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad​-ology​.com.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.