Rising Three-Digit Investments In Mobile Search Signal Marketers Adjusting

U.S. advertisers spent 8% more on search campaigns in Q1 2014 compared with the prior year, per a report released Monday.

Clicks on search ads rose 5%, and click-through rates increased 23%, but impressions fell 15% in the quarter compared with the previous year, per IgnitionOne's Q1 2014 digital marketing report.

IgnitionOne analyzes about $1.5 billion in online advertising investments to determine quarterly numbers. The Q1 2014 digital marketing report focuses on the growth of search advertising on mobile devices, other paid-search trends and programmatic display advertising.

Marketers in the U.S. also spent 79% more on tablet campaigns, while the amount spent on smartphones rose 107%.

Impressions on tablets rose 25%, while clicks rose 39% and CTR, 11%. Smartphone impressions rose 131%; clicks, 217%; and CTR, 37%. The cost per click fell 35%, which IgnitionOne attributes to marketers becoming more sophisticated with bidding and efficient with traffic patterns on the devices.

One example is Autobytel's Google AdWords campaign. During the first two months of 2014, Autobytel generated 60% more consumer leads through clicks on campaigns, compared with the same months a year ago.

The auto site claims to continually generate some of the highest quality leads in the industry, leads converting into car sales at nearly two-to-three times the estimated industry average. During the first two months in 2014, the company increased conversions by 60% and profits by more than 60%.

Aside from Autobytel's triumph with Google AdWords, marketers also found success on the Yahoo Bing Network. The combined network held on to its U.S. search market share in Q1, with marketing spending at 22.9% of spend vs. Google’s 77.1%, barely up from last quarter’s 22.7%.

IgnitionOne also notes the seasonal sequential decline in programmatic display key performance indicators for retail marketers. Travel experienced growth -- about 3% sequentially -- yielding a 25% increase in clicks and a 49% increase in impressions. 

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