Mobile search advertising spend approaching 50% this year

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Mobile advertising spend is predicted to represent 50% of all search ad expenditure, according to a new white paper from Marin Software, the cross-channel and cross-device enterprise marketing software for advertisers. The Q4 2016 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report: Vital Search, Social, and Display Performance by Device paper reveals that although mobile search ad spend has somewhat slowed compared to 2015 and appears to have reached a level of stagnation, current pacing is steady and offers an opportunity to anticipate the channel’s soon-to-happen mobile domination.

Impressions, clicks and spending were all nearing a 50-50 split between desktop and mobile combined ad spending. A closer look at the yearly change shows an increase for smartphone advertising and a downward trend for desktop and tablets.

Search

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Source: marinsoftware.com 

John McNulty, Vice President of Global Marketing at Marin Software, explains:

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“Search advertising continues to rapidly evolve. New, advertiser-friendly and mobile-centric innovations are keeping pace with consumer demand for online searches and ongoing product deals. Our research reinforces the need for search advertisers to not only stay smart about how to best earmark their budgets, but also to provide the most effective user experience for on-the-go consumers.”

The shift away from desktop in display advertising was larger compared to 2015. Indeed, smartphones have now taken the lead across all metrics for the device share and year-on-year behaviour was similar during the last half of 2016.

Display

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Source: marinsoftware.com 

Social advertising changes were much slower and more balanced between mobile and desktop ad spend. However, there is a small shift toward mobile on the back of previous developments in social mobile advertising.

Social

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Source: marinsoftware.com 

In addition, Marin Software identified consumer engagement and interaction during the third quarter of 2016. It examined click-through rates (CTR) and cost per click (CPC) as well as conversion rates for changes and shifts across the last 12 months. The data shows that CTRs have remained fairly stable over the quarters. Smartphone CTR for search jumped to the top, though within narrow lead.

CTR

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Source: marinsoftware.com 

CPC behaviours were different for display where tablets fell rather dramatically below desktops. Smartphone search CPC is still behind that of tablet search.

CPC

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Source: marinsoftware.com

Conversion rates were similar to CPCs. Whilst display continued a downward trend, search and social remained flat compared to earlier quarters.

Conversion Rates

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Source: marinsoftware.com

Marin Software research notes a trend toward mobile. Although search and social are seeing that trend slow down somewhat, desktop isn’t jumping to take its place. In addition, digital innovation and investment will likely continue to push mobile formats and ad expenditure. Advertisers should ensure that they balance their budgets across search for desktop and mobile next year.