Search Booms on Mobile

The mobile display market has its challenges, but the demand for mobile search is booming.

According to data from ad management firm IgnitionOne, its clients spent 269 percent more on mobile search ads during the fourth quarter of last year than they did during the same period in 2010. Ad impressions grew even faster, the company said, increasing 317 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, rival search ad platform Marin Software reported similar trends amongst its own client data pool. During the fourth quarter of 2011, six percent of all clicks on paid search ads were made from smartphones, while four percent came from tablets, it said, representing a doubling of mobile’s click-share since the third quarter of 2010.

Ads served to tablets also provided a 37 percent higher click-through rate than ads on desktops, while smartphones yielded a 31 percent higher click-through rate, Marin said.

Smartphone and tablet users continue to offer an attractive target for most advertisers largely thanks to the demographics associated with them. Their owners are often perceived as early adopters with above-average income, for example. As the devices continue to proliferate and their price points reduce, CTRs and prices for ads targeted to them will likely begin to stabilize.

The fact remains, though, that users are migrating their search behavior to tablets and smartphones from desktops in many cases. As a result, search ad impressions and spend targeted to those devices looks set to increase consistently over the next few quarters, at least.

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