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Mobile paid-search budgets surged 94% in 2012 says Marin Software study


By Jessica Davies, News Editor

February 12, 2013 | 3 min read

UK advertisers increased their mobile paid-search budgets last year by 94 per cent to 19.32 per cent, according to Marin Software’s Mobile Advertising Around the Globe report.

The study, which spanned $4 billion worth of paid-search spend globally, revealed the increase in budget allocation to mobile search caught up with consumer behaviour, with paid-search clicks jumping 65 per cent throughout 2012.

Mobile devices generated higher click-through-rates (CTRs) on ads than desktop, with smartphones seeing an average 5.87 per cent CTR in the UK, and tablets a 3.93 per cent CTR, while desktops lagged with 2.29 average CTR.

Cost-per-clicks (CPCs) remained cheaper on UK smartphones than desktop clicks, while the average tablet CPC surged 36 per cent in the UK to £0.28, compared to smartphones at £0.15 CPC and desktop at £0.30 CPC.

However, conversion rates remained highest on desktops at an average 4.1 per cent, with tablets at 2.6 per cent and smartphone trailing at 1.6 per cent. However, many smartphone conversions may have been made via phone call or in a physical store, therefore not tracked in this study, according to Marin Software.

By December 2012 smartphones accounted for a quarter of all paid-search clicks in the UK.

Marin Software predicts CPCs for mobile will match their desktop equivalents in 2013.

Jon Myers, Commercial Director, EMEA at Marin Software, said: “This study indicates in no uncertain terms that the age of desktop dominance in the paid-search advertising industry is coming to an end.

“There has been a significant uptake of smartphones and tablets in the UK, and this country now leads Europe in terms of consumer engagement with mobile advertising as we all increasingly shop online on mobile devices.

“While the rise of tablets is no secret, what’s interesting is based on our report, tablet users engage with search ads more than ads on desktops. A high user involvement combined with favorable performance characteristics make search ads on tablets hard to resist for advertisers.”

Meanwhile in Europe advertisers also increased investment in mobile search, albeit far less than in the UK, upping budgets by 146 per cent from 4.8 per cent to 11.8 per cent in 2012, according to the report.

CTRs in Europe are also more evenly placed across smartphone, tablet and desktop than in the UK, which has more contrasting behaviours across mobile devices. CPCs on tablets are also more similar to desktop at €0.30 for tablets and €0.31 for desktop.

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