The Search Agency has released its “State of Paid Search Report” for Q4 2012. It follows similar reports from Marin Software, IgnitionOne, RKG and Kenshoo and contains a range of data based on US client campaigns.
Overall The Search Agency observed that paid search is experiencing a “healthy growth rate.” Impressions, CPCs and paid clicks all grew in Q4. But, consistent with findings in other reports, the share of searches generated by smartphones and tablets grew significantly in Q4.
Unlike some other reports The Search Agency says these did not come at the expense of the PC:
Desktops computer searches remained level from Q3 2012 to Q4 2012, while mobile experienced an increase in search share. This demonstrates the industry’s steady growth and good health.
While mobile growth outpaced search on the PC overall, Google was the primary beneficiary of much of that activity. According to the report, Google saw 25.9 percent of total paid clicks coming from tablets and smartphones in Q4. That compared with 12.6 percent for Bing.
The firm says that CPCs are still quite a bit lower on tablets and smartphones than they are on the PC. Echoing the reports from Marin and IgnitionOne, The Search Agency reports that growth of tablet spending and CPCs is outpacing smartphones. Indeed smartphone CPC prices have declined from a year ago.
This is likely due to the challenges of measuring mobile ROI and marketers’ limited and often myopic thinking about the subject.
In Q4 just under 25 percent of search clicks were coming from non-PC devices. That’s a fairly dramatic increase from a year ago, when it was less than 13 percent. Tablet share has grown faster than smartphone share. And Q1 2013 may see a further acceleration of tablet impression and click share.