Mobile U.S. paid-search impressions exceeded 10% in the first quarter, the point that fledgling ad strategies cross the threshold from fad to reality, according to markeeters. Performics notes that mobile impressions reached 10.2% of all searches that trigger paid-search ads for the 125 global brands the company supports. The company will release complete numbers Thursday.
Computer impressions for Q1 grew 5.2%.
Aside from mobile impressions, clicks from mobile paid-search ads tell a similar story, rising to 9.8% of all paid-search clicks in March. These clicks did dip from 9.4% in 2010, sliding to 8.8% in February 2011, but shot back up. James Beveridge, senior analyst of strategy and analytics at Performics, estimates that clicks will surpass 10% this month. For the analysis, Performics focused only on Google.
Click-through rates stabilized in the first quarter, with mobile hovering just below computers. Performics believes the industry will see the trend continue through this quarter.
Mobile cost per clicks (CPC) fell in favor of advertisers: 11.4% in March. On average, the identical keywords on mobile cost 58% lower compared with computers, according to Performics. "For the entire period, we have been benchmarking mobile traffic, CPCs for mobile have been well below what we're seeing on computers," Beveridge said. "We do see that mobile CPCs are much less, compared with the same keywords on computers."
Although no words were identified when asked for examples, Beveridge attributes overall lower CPCs to the newness of the market. Advertisers that target shoppers realize the benefit of being early adopters, he said. For the majority of Performics clients, mobile CPCs declined in February. Mobile CPCs rose slightly as a select group of clients tested more aggressive mobile spending strategies.
It's not clear whether the clicks are turning into sales, but Beveridge said brands can no longer ignore those searching on mobile phones. The organic mobile traffic comes through at lower CPCs and healthy CTRs.
Google released its own stats that show nine out of 10 smartphone searches results in an action, such as a purchase or visit to a business. Twenty-four percent recommend a brand or product to others as a result of a smartphone search.