Mobile Search Clicks Higher, Prices Generally Lower than Online Ads

During the past two or three weeks a trio of reports came out about paid search trends, with considerable information about mobile. Agencies Marin Software, IgnitionOne and Performics each put out "Q1" reports. What they uniformly show is that mobile keeps gaining and that CTRs are better than for comparable ads online.

Performics says it's not seeing any cannibalization by mobile of PC search, which it says is still growing. The agency says people are simply searching more: PC at their desks, smartphones on the go and iPads at night on the couch. And none of this reflects or counts in-app search as an alternative to the mobile browser. 

First from Marin (top) and IgnitionOne (second) the following two graphics offer a comparison of paid search clicks on the PC, tablets and smartphones. Marin and IgnitionOne are very consistent with each other (based on aggregated client data):

Screen shot 2012-05-03 at 9.13.04 AMScreen shot 2012-05-03 at 9.12.47 AM

Given that there are scores of clients and hundreds of campaigns reflected in the two charts above we can take these metrics as definitive (for now) regarding the relative CTRs on each of these device platforms.

Performics argues that the present is a buying opportunity in mobile search (and display) because prices are lower than for PC campaigns, even as performance is superior to the PC. The graphic below shows the relative cost of paid search clicks for smartphones and tablets indexed against comparable PC campaign costs. 

Screen shot 2012-05-03 at 9.21.11 AM