Mobile Accounts For One-Third Of Google Paid Clicks In Q3, Yet CPCs Drop From Q2 [Report]

The Search Agency released its third quarter State of Paid Search Report, showing strong growth in mobile for Google since the completed roll-out of enhanced campaigns this summer. Mobile clicks accounted for one-third of Google’s click share. In contrast, Bing’s mobile click share remained flat at 17.7 just percent in Q3. A whopping 93 percent of smartphone clicks occurred on Google.

Overall mobile spend (tablets and smartphone) accounted for 28.7 percent of search budgets, up 66 percent year-over-year and 11 percent from Q2.

Amazingly, smartphones now account for 21.4 percent of clicks on Google product listing ads (PLAs), which debuted on mobile devices in March. That’s up from just 14.6 percent in Q2 among The Search Agency’s client set.

Google CTR Declines Across Devices

Google has seen click-through rate (CTR) declines across devices in the past two quarters. CTR on Google fell 27.1 percent year-over-year and 18.6 percent quarter-over-quarter. The steepest CTR decline occurred on desktops: off 31.8 percent year-over-year and 22.8 percent quarter-over-quarter. Smartphone CTR was down 19.3 percent year-over-year and 7.7 percent from Q2. Tablet CTR fell 26.6 percent year-over-year and 6.9 percent from Q2.

The declines in CTR on Google are coming from text ads. PLAs click-through rates rose 12.3 percent over Q2.

Google Click-through rate by device Q3 2013 The Search AgencyIn contrast, overall Bing’s CTR rose, closing the gap between the two search engines to the lowest levels in 5 quarters.

CPCs Hold Steady From Q2

The Search Agency saw cost-per-click (CPC) rise across the search engines year-over-year, yet, CPCs remained essentially flat from Q2.

Interestingly, with two months of enhanced campaigns, tablet was the only device that had considerable CPC changes from Q2 on Google — and they decreased 6.6 percent despite being tethered to desktop on Google with enhanced campaigns.

Google CPC by Device Q3 2013 The Search AgencyThe smartphone discount compared to desktop on Google fell from 12.6 percent to 11.2 percent year-over-year and from 16 percent to 13.4 percent quarter-over-quarter.

Smartphone Discount from Desktop Q3 2013 The Search AgencyIn Q2 tablet CPCs were actually at a premium of 3.7 percent from desktop. That reversed this quarter to a 2.3 percent discount.

Google Smartphone Impression Share Falls For Two Consecutive Quarters

While mobile click share on Google rose to one-third of clicks, impression share remained flat overall. Tablet impression share rose 7.3 percent from Q2, yet smartphone impression share fell 6.6 percent quarter-over-quarter.

Google Impression Share By Device Q3 2013 The Search AgencyBoth smartphones and tablets took click share from desktop on Google. Mobile devices (smartphone and tablet) accounted for a one-third (33 percent) of clicks on Google for the first time. Smartphones and tablets accounted for 17.7 percent of total clicks on Bing.

Google Click Share By Device Q3 2013 The Search AgencyThe study includes campaigns across a number of industry verticals: B2B, consumer services, financial services, real estate and construction, healthcare, retail and travel. For industry performance details, the full report is available for download here.