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Steady Gains for Mobile Paid Search

Nearly one in four paid clicks came from a mobile device in Q4

There is no question that mobile search advertising is on the rise: Recent analysis by The Search Agency found that in the US the share of paid clicks coming from smartphone and tablet devices nearly doubled between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012. Tablets’ share grew especially rapidly, and accounted for nearly 10% of the market in Q4 2012. Overall, 23.4% of paid clicks came from mobile devices last quarter.

In the competition for ad dollars, Google continues to have a sizeable advantage over Bing on all platforms: On desktops, Google captured more than four-fifths of search spending in the last quarter measured, according to The Search Agency, and Bing under one-fifth (figures for Bing refer to the combined search marketplace of the Yahoo!-Bing search alliance). Google’s advantage is even greater in the growing mobile space. On both smartphones and tablets, Google had 88.8% market share, and Bing had 11.2%.

This advantage on mobile could prove key for Google. The Search Agency found that advertisers pay less per click to place listings on smartphones and tablets, but appetite for mobile search advertising is only increasing.

eMarketer estimates that US advertisers will increase mobile search ad spending 80.6% this year to $3.54 billion, up from $1.99 billion in 2012. US digital search ad spending including mobile will also rise, from $17.58 billion in 2012 to $19.76 billion in 2013. This represents a comparatively restrained growth rate of 12.4% driven largely by increased mobile search spending. And the spending gap between mobile and desktop paid search will narrow even further over time: eMarketer projects that by 2016, advertisers will spend $24.45 billion on search, with $10.3 billion of that going toward mobile.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Zappos Takes a Close Look at Consumers' Mcommerce Patterns” and “Android, Symbian Dominate India's Smartphone Market.”

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