As smartphone technology comes ever closer to equaling that of the personal computer, many of the tried and true marketing techniques of the Digital Era are transitioning to those miniature devices. Mobile search is the latest frontier to be pushed by app developers and web designers. Mobile search is expected to surpass desktop search by 2015, according to Marin Software’s March 2012 State of Mobile Search in the U.S. report.
Nearly half of all Americans own a smartphone, and most use them for more than calling and texting. With that in mind, marketers are finding great value in shifting dollars away from traditional Web marketing channels to mobile targeted initiatives, specifically to mobile pay-per-click ads.
As a relatively new technology, mobile PPC ads are starkly underpriced. Compared to desktop and tablet pay-per-click ads, smartphone PPC ads yield the highest click-through-rate (4.12 percent) and the lowest cost ($0.53). Mobile clicks continue to sell well below their actual value, while generating a higher conversion rate. As a result, more businesses are investing in mobile campaigns.
In 2011 alone, mobile paid search advertising spend more than doubled from 3.4 to 8.7 percent as a fraction of the pay-per-click industry. The State of Mobile Search report predicted that by the end of this year, mobile ads will account for 25 percent of all Google’s PPC clicks, a significant spike from 5 percent in January 2011. With this upward trend, one Cowen analyst expects Google to bring in $5.8 billion in mobile ad revenue in 2012, up three billion from last year.
The rapid adoption of smartphones is seen as the main driving force behind the growth in mobile PPC ads. Research shows that consumers are more likely to notice ads on their phones than on a desktop. Increased visibility means an increased likelihood of someone clicking the ad and interacting with it in some way, with 53 percent of consumers at least visiting the landing page after clicking a mobile ad, and 24 percent making a purchase.
At the very least, mobile pay-per-click advertising represents a substantial value buy; its growth is outpacing its pricing. Price corrections are no doubt on the way as third-party research is consistently showing more firms are adopting mobile PPC. At the moment, however, it may very well be the best value marketing play available in the digital space.
Anush Alexander is director of marketing for RW Lynch, a comprehensive marketing platform for personal injury attorneys, where she oversees company branding efforts, web, and internal product development and B2C marketing for the Injury HelpLine, a service that has connected over three million potential victims with lawyers in their area.
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