A study on more than 300 U.S. AdWords accounts from 12 key verticals reveals that 88% of site visitors driven to a destination by a mobile search ad would not click on a business's organic listing when the ads are paused.
The Google research conducted from March 2012 to April 2013 focuses on search terms with an organic listing on the first page and adjusts for factors like seasonality. The findings were consistently high across all verticals: 97% of mobile ad clicks are incremental for classified and local advertisers, 86% for retail advertisers, and 90% for technology brands, 85% for travel, 86% for media and entertainment, and 83% for health care.
Shaun Lysen, Google statistician, quantitative marketing, derived his conclusion by examining the value of mobile paid-search ads and the incremental impact on organic clicks, according to findings in a white paper. Incremental refers to site visits drive by mobile search ads that are lost when mobile ads get paused.
Lysen believes factors such as the organic search result contribute to ranking and how similar paid and organic listings drive the impact of the other. Simplifying comparisons, he created a metric Incremental Ad Clicks (IAC) to measure incremental clicks as a percentage of the change in paid clicks.
Google has done research on paused ads in the past, but this study takes the research another step into mobile, considering budgets, ad clicks, organic clicks and organic impressions. The two prior studies combined data across the desktop, mobile and tablet platforms.
Some 56% of U.S. consumers now own smartphones as of Q1 2013. Of those smartphone owners, 61% perform searches on their smartphones daily, while 77% have researched a product or service online.
U.S. mobile online advertising investments continue to rise. eMarketer estimates that marketers will spend $7.7 billion in 2013, growing to an estimated $28 billion in 2017.
Lysen believes search advertising has advantages over traditional media advertising, citing access to direct metrics impacting change, such as the number of clicks, and the ability for marketers to pay only when a consumer clicks on an ad.