Study: Mobile and Tablets Driving US Paid Search Spend


LOS ANGELES, April 18, 2013 (ADOTAS) – The Search Agency, a global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, today released its quarterly State of Paid Search Report, which found that total search advertising spend across Google and Yahoo!-Bing increased 21.6 percent year-over-year, in addition to other findings. The quarterly report analyzes aggregated client data from various industries to identify paid search marketing trends across search engines and devices on a year-over-year (YoY—Q1 2012 to Q1 2013) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ—Q4 2012 to Q1 2013) basis.

“2012 was a strong year for search advertising, and mobile and tablets helped drive this growth exponentially. Bing has been ferociously working to grab market share from Google, particularly battling it out on tablet devices,” said Keith Wilson (pictured), vice president of agency products at The Search Agency. “The study also showed tablets continue to be a driving force – consumers are hitting the tablets to shop and buy, with tablet performance steadily increasing over the past five quarters. I don’t see this slowing anytime soon.”

Additional findings from The Search Agency’s State of Paid Search Report include:

Paid search spend increased 22 percent YoY

Despite seeing impressions down 4 percent YoY, a 15 percent increase in search click-through rate (CTR) lead to an 11.7 percent increase in overall clicks. Coupled with an 8.8 percent YoY increase in CPC, total advertiser spend across Google and Yahoo!-Bing increased 21.6 percent.

Bing takes more of Google’s overall market share, including tablets

After four consecutive quarters of a relatively consistent market share split between Google and Bing, Bing’s share of advertiser spend grew to 21 percent, up 3.6 percent YoY and 3 percent QoQ.  Bing saw strong growth on tablets, increasing its share of spend from 10.6 to 15.3 percent YoY.

Smartphones and tablets remain strong

Consumers increased click volume on smartphones by 86 percent YoY.  And despite a 10.4 percent drop in smartphone CPC, total advertiser spend on smartphones was up 68 percent YoY. Total spend on tablets went up 135 percent YoY.

Retail still strong – even after the holiday season

The retail industry saw tremendous growth on mobile and tablets YoY. Smartphone click share for retail increased 78.2 percent YoY and 69.9 percent QoQ. Tablet click share increased 71.8 percent YoY and 13.5 percent QoQ. In particular, tablet share grew consistently over the past five quarters and click traffic from smartphones and tablets for the retail and e-commerce sector was larger than any other vertical in the study – which looks at consumer and business services, media and entertainment, real estate and construction, travel and leisure – with 39.6 percent of clicks.

Product Listing Ads (PLA) gaining ground on smartphones and tablets

Clicks on PLA increased enormously YoY and PLA clicks coming from smartphones and tablets increased 100 percent and 59.7 percent QoQ, respectively. Tablets came in at 9.9 percent of PLA clicks last quarter. For the first time, likely due to improvements to format and visibility on newer models, smartphones made up more than 2 percent of PLA clicks.

To uncover key trends for the Q1 2013 State of Paid Search Report, The Search Agency extracted client data from search engine advertising tools. The research sample included advertisers who had 15 consecutive months of data with The Search Agency, and had an established and stable business model from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. All results are based on U.S. campaigns only.

To download the report, go to

About The Search Agency

The Search Agency is a global online marketing firm that combines high-tech and high-touch strategies to help clients engage their customers online and measure ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. With a deep-rooted history in paid search and SEO, The Search Agency understands how activity on the web intersects at search, and executes smart digital marketing strategies that drive measurable results across multiple platforms. Services include Paid Search, SEO, Landing Page Optimization, Display Media, Social Media and Comparison Shopping Management, which are strategically leveraged to maximize the efficacy of clients’ integrated marketing campaigns. The company is one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing search marketing firms – named the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency by Advertising Age and among Deloitte’s 2011 Technology Fast 500™. Founded in 2002, The Search Agency has grown to more than 180 employees worldwide with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, and additional offices in San Francisco, East Greenwich, Baltimore, Tampa, London, Sydney, Toronto and Bangalore. For more information, go to


  1. […] 4. Study: Mobile And Tablets Driving US Paid Search Spend  via Consumers increased click volume on smartphones by 86 percent YoY.  And despite a 10.4 percent drop in smartphone CPC, total advertiser spend on smartphones was up 68 percent YoY. Total spend on tablets went up 135 percent YoY. (Read full article) […]


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