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Desktop Search to Decline $1.4 Billion as Google Users Shift to Mobile

Overall desktop ad spending set to decline in 2014 while mobile grows 83.0%

Desktop search in the US is poised for a significant decline this year as paid clicks on Google shift toward mobile devices, according to new figures from eMarketer.

US mobile search ad spending grew 120.8% in 2013, contributing to an overall gain of 122.0% for all mobile ads. Meanwhile, overall desktop ad spending increased just 2.3% last year, according to eMarketer.

eMarketer estimates that desktop search ad spending will drop $1.4 billion this year, a decrease of 9.4% from 2013, while mobile search will increase 82.3% year over year. Mobile search will total $9.02 billion, compared with $13.57 billion for desktop search. Overall, US spending on advertising served to desktops and laptops will decline 2.4% in 2014 to $32.39 billion, down from $33.18 billion in 2013.

Google will have a notable influence on the overall shift from desktop to mobile search spending. In 2013, 76.4% of the company’s search ad revenues came from desktop. However, that share will fall to 66.3% in 2014 due to a $770 million decrease in desktop search ad revenues year over year, eMarketer estimates. At the same time, the company’s mobile search revenues will increase $1.76 billion, totaling approximately one-third of Google’s total search revenues. Key contributors to Google’s mobile search growth include its Enhanced Campaigns and Product Listing Ads (PLAs), both of which contributed to increased click share on mobile throughout 2013 and will continue to do so.

In the scope of Google’s overall ad revenues, mobile search is gaining significant share. Up from 19.4% in 2013, mobile search will comprise an estimated 26.7% of the company’s total ad revenues this year. Desktop search declined to 63.0% of Google’s ad revenues in 2013, having already fallen from 72.7% in 2012.

Advertisers are responding to consumers’ rapidly increasing time spent with mobile phones and tablets. While nonvoice mobile activities accounted for 19.4% of average time spent per day with media by US adults in 2013, only 5.7% of total media ad spending was dedicated to mobile last year, meaning there’s significant room for advertisers to catch up with consumer habits.

eMarketer bases all of our forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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