Performics Forecasts Biggest Holiday Ever for Mobile Paid Search; December Mobile Clickshare to Jump from 9.5% to 17.3% YoY

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Performics Forecasts Biggest Holiday Ever for Mobile Paid Search; December Mobile Clickshare to Jump from 9.5% to 17.3% YoY

Low CPCs Present Huge Holiday Buying Opportunity for Advertisers

Posted by James Beveridge, Senior Analyst & Cristina Lucero, Research Associate

Mobile paid search was big last holiday, but it will be small in comparison to what Performics expects to see this holiday.  In December 2010, mobile paid search was 9.5% of all Google paid search clicks (desktop + mobile).  Mobile clicks then tapered off in January and February 2011 but have steadily risen ever since.  For Performics’ aggregate client base, Google search clicks from mobile devices are now 14.2% of all search clicks (September 2011). 

Holiday’s historically strong mobile performance—coupled with the continual acceleration of mobile paid search in 2011—indicates that this holiday will be the biggest ever for mobile search.  Without fail, December will be mobile’s biggest month in terms of mobile activity and mobile share vs. desktop.   At Performics, we’re forecasting that mobile paid search clicks will be 17.3% of all search clicks in December 2011:

Mobile forecast 1

Interestingly, November mobile click share will fall from October due to historically huge desktop search volume in November.  The primary events in November are Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the following week, and while mobile activity did lift over this period last year, it was outpaced slightly by standard desktop searches.  The wild card this year will be increased tablet usage.  We think that tablets could show incredibly strong search share over the Cyber Stretch and at least mirror desktop’s day-level seasonality, very possibly outpacing it.  Tablets continued to grow—up from 34.3% of all mobile search clicks in August to 35.8% in September.

And despite mobile’s enormous growth, mobile devices continue to display cut-rate CPCs.  Average mobile clicks are currently 53% less expensive than computer clicks.

Mobile Clicks by Day

We’re currently about a month away from Black Friday and we’re seeing daily mobile paid search clicks well above 2010 levels.  Last year, mobile clicks spiked after Thanksgiving (yellow line on the below graph).  This year, we expect a similar pattern:

Mobile forecast 2

Mobile click share vs. desktops, on the other hand, spiked after Christmas in 2010.  Was this due to gifted smartphones and tablets being activated and used for the first time?  Performics will pay close attention to 2011 post-holiday click share to see if a similar pattern occurs:

Mobile forecast 3

Performics’ mobile holiday forecast aligns with other research predicting that mobile devices will be a huge driver of holiday shopping this season.  Many mobile users view their devices as a holiday shopping resource for product and sale information, coupons, product reviews and store information:

  • 44% of last-minute holiday shopping searches will be on smartphones and tablets (Google)
  • 56% say mobile devices will be helpful in discovering coupons/sale info this holiday (Mojiva)
  • 51% say that mobile devices will be helpful in discovering store information (Mojiva)

And mobile users plan to start shopping early:

  • 34% of smartphone users plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving (AdMob)
  • 45% of tablet users plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving (AdMob)

For advertisers, now’s the time to prepare your holiday paid search campaigns for the upcoming mobile rush.

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