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Mobile phones generate more than 20pc of paid search clicks: report

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January 14, 2013

Although mobile phones proved their merit this holiday season for research, the devices only represent a tiny sliver of total revenue, according to new research from Kenshoo.

Kenshoo’s “2012 Global Online Retail Holiday Shopping Report” takes a look at how search broke down over the holidays across PCs, smartphones and tablets. In particular, the report points to the growing divide between smartphone and tablet mobile search.

“There is a great opportunity for marketers with the worldwide penetration of smartphones and tablets which now generate roughly 30 percent of all retail paid search click shares,” said Ariel Rosenstein, Tel Aviv-based director of marketing research for Kenshoo.

“The best way to engage consumers at the right time and place and in the right mindset is to break out separate campaigns for mobile versus desktop and target specific devices,” he said.

“By tailoring keyword selection, ad copy, landing pages and bids to each particular device marketers can improve performance and conversions.”

Small-sized search
Kenshoo’s research aggregated and analyzed more than 24 billion impressions on global search engines during the holidays.

The 20 percent of paid search clicks from mobile phones represents a growth from six percent in 2011.

However, the report points to the growth in the number of mobile clicks correlating to lower-quality users.

For example, mobile conversion rates from smartphones and feature phones were .46 percent this year compared to .87 percent in 2011.

“This could mean that marketers optimized their campaigns more for consumer awareness than sales on mobile phones in an effort to drive shoppers who were already out to their physical store locations,” Mr. Rosenstein said.

Revenue generated from mobile phones represented only two percent of total revenue in Kenshoo’s findings.

Interestingly, iOS and Android devices are closely split when it comes to smartphone conversions. IPhones grabbed 57 percent of smartphone conversions with Android contributing to approximately 43 percent.

Android devices brought in approximately 45 percent of clicks and iPhones contributed to roughly 54 percent of clicks. The remaining percentage of clicks is split between BlackBerry and Windows devices.

Fifty-six percent of revenue from smartphones came from iPhones with roughly 44 percent coming from Android devices.

When it comes to average order size, Android smartphone shoppers spend slightly more with an average order size of $92. The average iPhone order was roughly $88, and orders from Windows Phone users totaled approximately $84.

Tablet searches
Compared to the mobile phone numbers, tablet-specific findings in Kenshoo’s report show that the devices hold strong conversion rates and order values.

Tablets contributed to eight percent of U.S. paid search clicks and spend. Conversions from tablets reached six percent of total conversion.

Tablets brought in approximately seven percent of revenue from paid search clicks. The average order value was more than $100, showing how tablets can be lucrative for retailers and brands.

Apple’s iPad continues to lead the tablet market. IPads generated 99 percent of revenue and conversions and contributed to 97 percent of all paid search clicks.

IPads generate a 3.08 percent conversion rate, followed by Android devices with a 1.10 percent conversion rate. BlackBerry tablets generate a 1.49 percent conversion rate.

Search grows
The report also has some interesting findings around broader digital search over the holidays.

The average paid search cost-per-click hit 48 cents over the holidays, representing an 11 percent year-over-year growth. Clicks on the other hand increased 23 percent over 2011 and converted at a rate 25 percent rate higher year-over-year.

According to Kenshoo, search budgets increased 36 percent year-over-year.

Globally, online retailers earned 36 percent more year-over-year from paid search.

Revenue from paid search increased 23 percent year-over-year in the U.S. and was particularly driven by consumers shopping on Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.

For example, revenue from paid search increased 60 percent year-over-year on Thanksgiving Day, showing how consumers are increasingly relying on digital channels to shop and find deals versus going into a bricks-and-mortar store.

“Mobile search will be critical for retailers in 2013 as the worldwide penetration of smartphones and tablets continues to grow,” Mr. Rosenstein said.

“Across all regions, mobile devices now generate roughly 30 percent of all retail paid search click shares therefore campaign optimization will be critical, not only for mobile versus desktop campaigns but also targeting for specific devices and operating systems,” he said.

“Smartphone users have a different mindset than tablet or desktop users so serving them ads as you would for tablet and desktop users will be problematic.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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