The Search Agency U.S. Clients Spent 29% Of Budgets On Mobile In Q2

The Search Agency released search engine marketing stats Thursday ahead of Google's earnings that found among its clients clicks rose 36%; spend, 22%; and click-through rates, 58% in Q2 2014, compared with the year ago's quarter. The cost per click (CPC) fell 10%, respectively.

Overall, mobile budgets for smartphones and tablets reached 29%, up from 22.8% in Q2 2013, per findings released in its quarterly State of Paid Search Report, Q2 2014. Here's where the agency's clients put their search dollars in Q2 2014.

Marketers continue to spend more on mobile search advertising, and by the end of the year mobile could account for 40% of search budgets, among The Search Agency Clients. "At this pace of growth, smartphones and tablets may become the predominant platforms for search ads by the end of next year," said Matt Grebow, group director of paid search at The Search Agency. "Whether the majority of search marketers are willing to devote more than half of their budget to mobile depends on their ability to tie revenue and sales back to these devices."

Google and Bing are under pressure to provide insights into cross-device behaviors, and advertisers will continue to invest in attribution modeling that looks beyond the last click. Difficult data problems remain, but no shortage of marketers eager to spend the time and money to solve them.

Smartphone spend share reached 15.5%, while tablet spend share crept up to 13.5%, SearchBlog hears. Desktops still held about 71% in Q2 2014, down from 77.1% in the year-ago quarter. The company's mobile alliance with Apple could shake things up as the two companies expand their relationship. In June, Microsoft confirmed it would become available in Mac OS X.

Spend and clicks on Google and Bing rose in the quarter, year over year. Marketers spent 53% more on Bing, outpacing Google's 16%, but clicks rose 20% and 38%, respectively, in the quarter. The cost per click on Bing rose 27%; whereas on Google CPCs declined 16%.

The Search Agency points to a shift among its clients in desktop impressions from non-brand keywords to explain fluctuating CPCs. On Google in Q4 non-branded keyword desktop impressions accounted for 85%, compared with 81% in q2 2013, and 15% and 19% for brand keywords, respectively. Google's Knowledge Graph consistently appears for a large number of brand searches, in some cases preventing the ad of the trademark holder to serve up. This may limit the amount of brand impressions Google shows on the search engine results page, per the study.

Bing ads accounted for only 12% of ad clicks during Q2 2014, among The Search Agency clients, per the study. "This indicates a keyword-matching technology that, while beneficial for finding new audiences, can sometimes be too lenient," according to the report.

Bing has tested several ad formats that can help boost advertiser click-through rates during the past few months, and The Search Agency anticipates these formats could help Bing gain back click share. One of those formats, product listing ads, continue to help Google and Bing gain share.

Google PLAs rose to 31% of the total paid search impressions for advertisers who use this ad format, up from 28% in Q2 2013, per the report. Among The Search Agency clients, PLAs on smartphones rose to 12.7% of all PLA clicks. Mobile clicks now account for one-third of all PLA clicks, which suggests consumers increasingly use their smartphones for shopping.

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