The top mobile search categories didn’t necessarily attract the most ad dollars last year.
The top verticals searched via mobile devices were local restaurants, travel (gas stations, hotels, transportation) and health and beauty. But only travel was among the top three in advertising, along with telecom and financial services.
Telecom and financial services are typically among the highest-spending ad categories online, so that appears to carry over to mobile as well. All findings are per new data from location-focused mobile ad network xAd.
Entertainment (bars, clubs and theaters) and health and beauty (salons and spas, gyms, hospitals and other health service providers), were the two fastest-growing categories, with the number of campaigns up 184%, and 50%, respectively.
When it comes to mobile advertising tactics, xAd said targeting of display ads based on mobile search activity was the fastest-growing method last year, with the number of campaigns using it up more than fourfold. More than half (55%) of campaigns used geo-fencing, while those using standard geotargeting fell from 64% to 13% of campaigns in 2013.
Search-based behavioral targeting delivered the highest lift, boosting performance 60%, on average, over the industry benchmark of a 0.5% click-through rate. Place-based targeting was second, providing 55% lift. During 2012, locally targeted display ads had an average click-through rate of 0.8%, and targeted search, an 8% CTR.
Regionally, most search activity was heaviest in the South, while the South and Midwest had the most targeted cities for mobile advertising. The xAd network reaches about 100 million mobile users a month, or 76% of the U.S. smartphone audience.