In 2015, overall paid search growth was down 75%, according to Adobe Digital Index‘s (ADI) Q4 2015 Digital Advertising Report. Europe experienced the largest dip with search slowing by 5%, compared to a 3% decrease in North America.
Paid search spend growth has been declining
However, it’s not all bad news, as marketers are shifting their focus to mobile search instead. ADI found that mobile paid search generated more spend than ever before, increasing traffic.
Paid search on mobile devices is now 37%, an increase of 23% from the previous year. Mobile browsing now accounts for 41% of all site visits and advertisers have been eager to jump on the trend, realising that mobile content consumption is increasing whilst CPC on mobile is less than on desktop. In addition, marketers have noted increased traffic of their mobile SEM efforts, with clicks up 35% from 2014.
Paid search on mobile continues to increase
However, Becky Tasker, Managing Analyst, ADI, cautions:
“The caveat here is that a mobile click doesn’t convert as well once a consumer is on the website. So marketers should be aware that there’s going to be a gap between traffic and conversion, which means they have to think about how to optimize that.”
The research also highlights that mobile search spend was predominant in product listing ads (PLAs) last quarter. The holiday season is likely to having had an influence on the result, with similar spikes in spend occurring each year during that time. Overall, PLA spending grew slower, at a rate of 37%.
PLA spend was up during the holiday season
Research from eMarketer confirms that mobile search is performing strong. One in 10 marketers are planning to increase their search spend by 20% or more. Two out of five respondents said they would add 10-15% to current search budgets.
“Mobile – where search is gaining greater importance – was expected to see bigger budget increases in 2016, which could include additional mobile search spending.”