July 12, 2012, 9:19 AM

Tablets tally up more paid search spending and clicks

The cost per click for paid search ads on tablets is 18% less than PCs.

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Consumers staring at small screens are accounting for a growing proportion of clicks on paid search ads. The share of clicks in the U.S. stemming from mobile devices grew from 14% in the first quarter to 18% during the second quarter, a new report by advertising management firm Marin Software finds.  Smartphones accounted for 10% of paid search clicks and tablets 8%.

Increased sales of smartphones and tablets is leading to a greater share of paid search clicks coming from mobile devices, Marin says.

In addition to consumers clicking more on mobile devices, the lower cost for paid search ads in the mobile realm also is driving retailers to dedicate more of their digital marketing budgets to the mobile channel.

For example, looking at tablets, the cost per click for paid search ads displayed on tablets is 18% lower than that of ads on computers and the click-through rate for tablet ads is 42% higher than ads on PCs, Marin says. Additionally, the share of clicks on tablets specifically grew 33% quarter over quarter, Marin says.

As a result, advertisers increased their share of spending on paid search for tablets by 40% in the second quarter compared to the first, the company says. In June, paid search advertisers spent 7% of their budgets on tablet paid search, up from 5% in March, Marin adds.

Paid search spend share by device for June was: 7% tablets, 7% smartphones, 86% desktop computers.

Whereas U.S. advertisers split their spending in June evenly between smartphones and tablets, U.K .search marketers are spending more on tablets. U.K. advertisers spent 8% of paid search budgets on tablets in Q2 and 5% on smartphones, Marin says. And British tablet users are clicking on paid search ads more than their U.S. counterparts, as the clickthrough rate in the U.K. was 4.4%, versus 3.0% in the U.S. Overall, mobile devices accounted for a 20% share of clicks in Q2, with 9% coming from tablets and 11% from smartphones.

Beyond the U.K., advertisers in the rest of the EU spend a lower share of their budgets on mobile and receive fewer clicks through mobile devices than the U.S. and the U.K. However, search marketers in the Eurozone are aligned with their counterparts in the U.K. in that they are spending more on tablets versus smartphones. They spend 5% of their budgets on tablets and 2% on smartphones. Smartphones and tablets each represent 4% of paid search clicks in the EU countries excluding the U.K.

Marin analyzed data from its Global Online Advertising Index—which includes more than 1,800 advertisers and agencies that invest more than $3.5 billion annually through Marin’s ad platform. The Marin Global Online Advertising Index consists of larger advertisers and agencies that spend more than $1 million annually on paid search, social and display ads.  As such, the data sample and findings skew towards the behavior of larger organizations.

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