By Ginny Marvin
Starting next year marketers in the US will spend more on mobile search — both PPC ads and SEO – than on desktop, according to a new report from digital research firm, eMarketer.
Just last year, the firm estimates, less than a quarter of search spend went to mobile. The report suggests that the tables will turn entirely by 2018, with mobile accounting for 76.7 percent of search spending.
EMarketer includes both tablets and smartphones in its mobile numbers, but says the dramatic shift is being driven primarily by smartphones. Still, it’s worth noting that the market doesn’t have much control over what gets allocated to search advertising on tablets. Google’s enhanced campaigns eliminated the ability to bid separately on tablet and desktop traffic last year. Bing Ads followed Google’s lead this year and also combined desktop and tablet traffic this fall.
Additionally, because SEO is included in these estimates, it’s not clear what the shift in ad spending actually looks like.
Lower return on investment from mobile search has been a sticking point for advertisers. EMarketer predicts that ROI on mobile will continue to lag behind desktop until “mobile performance measurement, particularly in relation to the the impact on sales in physical stores, gets more precise.”
Google has been trying to convince advertisers of value of mobile since it rolled out enhanced campaigns. It has introduced estimated cross-device conversions and several mobile-specific ad features over the past year. The company is working on several initiatives to tie mobile ads back to offline store sales, and is facing increasing pressure to do so since the launch of Facebook Atlas, which has an offline tracking component.
Skepticism about the value of mobile search does appear to be waning, …read more