Paid-search clicks on mobile devices rose 10% in Q4 2011, from 5% sequentially, according to Marin Software, a digital marketing firm. Breaking it down, smartphones took 6% and tablets 4%. When it comes to paid-search ads, the tablet has a 38% higher click-through rate compared with desktops, and a lower cost per click.
Overall, the number of clicks and performance in Q4 2011 improved, compared with the year-ago quarter. Campaigns experienced a 56% increase in the number of clicks on paid-search ads. Marin attributes the gains to stronger click-through rates at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).
On Google, advertisers became more efficient. Clicks grew 48% without increasing ad impressions. During this time, Marin's clients experienced a 48% increase in CTRs on Google, while cost per click declined 7%, with performance gains attributable to match types and more effective bidding.
For marketers running campaigns on Yahoo and Bing, increased investments produced strong ad impression, most of which Marin attributes to optimized search campaigns and an increase in money spent on the combined marketplace. The search firm's clients gained 44% higher click volume combined with a 9% CPC increase, and a 1% CTR increase compared with the prior year.
Microsoft Windows 8 -- adapted for PCs from Windows Mobile, along with voice and gesture technology from Kinect -- should have an influence on search engine marketing this year. "We're seeing rising click volumes on mobile, so it's apparent that touchscreens are not slowing anyone down," said Matt Lawson, VP of marketing at Marin. "The big thing to watch this year will be combining voice and touch."
Over at IgnitionOne, mobile search ad impressions rose 317% and marketers spent 267% more in Q4 2011 compared with the year-ago quarter. Retailers contributed 14.2% of total paid-search budgets to mobile in the quarter compared with 5.2% last year.
When asked how many clicks, on average, consumers make prior to making a purchase or completing a process or conversion online, IgnitionOne President Roger Barnette said: "Anecdotally, there is no measurable difference in conversion funnels between mobile and desktop, but a higher proportion of mobile devices have cookies disabled, which results in mobile campaigns being held to different ROI standards."
Barnette said the top mistake that marketers make on mobile campaigns is not modifying creative pieces to account for different size screen on phone, tablet and computer. Other problems: not recognizing the impulse nature of mobile campaigns, capping terms that perform better on mobile, and not accounting for the drive to store scenario related to mobile.