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Mobile paid search is seriously winning: here’s how

As we use our tablets and mobile phones more and more in everyday life; advertisers have to follow us. To illustrate my point; over 2012, more than 80% of all search traffic originated on a mobile device. Mobile search was traditionally an area that most advertisers were unsure of and so as a result didn’t allocate much budget to it. That paradigm is a changing.

Jonathan Houston
Jonathan Houston is passionate about digital marketing and digital strategy. During the day, Jonathan fulfills the role of Lead Digital Marketer for Deloitte Consulting's Technology division where... More

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According to a 2013 research report recently issued by IgnitionOne; US mobile paid search spend more than doubled year on year on both smart phones and tablets. When you compare this to the overall search spend which went up only seven percent you can already see a huge sway towards mobile spend.

According to eMarketer, tablets saw a slightly bigger jump in spending and delivered impressions, while smartphones grew more aggressively in terms of clicks, as more users tapped on paid search links on their phones. In keeping with this, the cost-per-click (CPC) on smartphones got cheaper, down by 13%, while tablets’ CPCs were up 13%.

Mobile Paid Search

Getting in to some of the real detail, tablets are very clearly winning the mobile web fight (arguably due to their larger screens) with 59% of mobile ad spending going to tablets over smartphones.

Mobile Paid Search 2

Interestingly though the tablet portion has dropped quarter on quarter (tablets were at 64% in Q1).

Bear in mind that all the figures we have spoken about here have been specifically around search spend. According to eMarketer, they are expecting the 2013 search spend allocation to contribute 51.7% of the total spend while other areas such as video, SMS and display advertising make up the rest of the spend.

Mobile Paid Search 3

It is in these areas where I think the biggest disruption will occur over the coming few years. When we look at how relevance engines and real time bidding and other advertising targeting mechanisms are affecting the market, there is no other logical conclusion than to realize that search and search advertising is only one part of the pie.

Incorporating ZMOT thinking into marketing strategies tells you that no longer are your audience online purely to be your product or service on your terms. They are constantly consuming and engaging with content that is out of your control. By positioning your brand around that content though is where the biggest gains can be made and advertising can be made relevant and purpose driven again.

Just as writing content for contents sake has become taboo, so has placing advertising in areas that are not contextually relevant.

It is imperative that advertisers understand how and where their targets are spending their time and then innovate their messages and delivery mechanisms to speak as closely as possible to them.