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Smartphones and Tablets Represent Nearly One-Fourth of All Paid Clicks

The Search Agency's State of Paid Search Report Also Finds Tablet Click Share More than Doubled Year over Year

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Search Agency, a global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, today released its quarterly State of Paid Search Report, which, among other findings, reports that smartphones and tablets drove 23 percent of total clicks in the fourth quarter of 2012, an 89 percent increase year over year. The quarterly report analyzes aggregated client data from various industries on paid search marketing trends across search engines and devices on a year-over-year (YoY—Q4 2011 to Q4 2012) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ—Q3 2012 to Q4 2012) basis.

"With ongoing advancements and multiple lower priced tablet options being introduced into the market, it's no surprise traffic on these devices continues to increase," said Keith Wilson, vice president of agency products at The Search Agency. "But, while our advertisers' spend on mobile and tablets is increasing, it's not at the expense of desktop. In fact, data shows that desktop searches remained level over the last two quarters, underscoring the trend that search is steadily growing overall."

Additional findings from The Search Agency's State of Paid Search Report include:

Tablets see record searches; surpass mobile ad spend
The introduction of a number of new tablet models and record sales growth spurred on huge growth in both tablet use and advertiser spend. Tablet click share in Q4 more than doubled YoY and jumped 16 percent from Q3, and smartphones and tablets combined drove 23 percent of total clicks in Q4 2012, an 89 percent increase YoY. The last quarter of 2012 marked the first time in which share of spend on tablets exceeded spend on smartphones (8.5 versus 7.1 percent of total spend).

Google and Yahoo!-Bing Network continue to see growth; Google leads in mobile
Search engine advertising continues to show healthy growth as impressions in Q4 2012 grew 11 percent YoY and total clicks grew 4 percent. Total clicks on Google increased 4 percent YoY and cost per click (CPC) rose 7 percent from $0.55 to $0.59.  Bing also showed a 4 percent growth in click traffic, with a 15 percent increase in average CPC YoY. Bing's mobile impression share and click share increased, but is still substantially less than Google's impression and click share overall. Google continued to see more paid clicks coming from mobile devices with 25.9 percent of its total clicks coming from tablets and smartphones in Q4, compared to 12.6 percent for Bing.   

Product Listings accounted for more than 14 percent of spend on Google
Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continued their strong growth in Q4 2012, accounting for 14 percent of retailers' total spend on Google in Q4, a 236 percent increase from the previous quarter. Specifically, retailers spent more than 9 percent of their PLA budget on tablets and smartphones, an 80 percent increase from Q3.

Retail surged on mobile during the holidays, but click volume declined YoY
In the retail sector, mobile click share increased from 14.3 percent in Q4 2011 to 26.1 percent in Q4 2012. Retail volume was the driving factor for Q4 growth in comparison to Q3 2012, with a 20 percent increase in click traffic. However, YoY click volume declined 6 percent.

"The holidays brought on big numbers in mobile retail searches but we saw click volume decrease overall – possibly because of uncertainty from the presidential election and the natural disasters that affected the Northeast," added Wilson.  

To uncover key trends for the Q4 2012 State of Paid Search Report, The Search Agency extracted client data from search engine advertising tools. The research sample included advertisers who had 15 consecutive months of data with The Search Agency, and had an established and stable business model from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012. All results are based on U.S. campaigns only. 

To download the report, go to

About The Search Agency
The Search Agency is a global online marketing firm that combines high-tech and high-touch strategies to help clients engage their customers online and measure ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. With a deep-rooted history in paid search and SEO, The Search Agency understands how activity on the web intersects at search, and executes smart digital marketing strategies that drive measurable results across multiple platforms. Services include Paid Search, SEO, Landing Page Optimization, Display Media, Social Media and Comparison Shopping Management, which are strategically leveraged to maximize the efficacy of clients' integrated marketing campaigns. The company is one of the nation's largest and fastest growing search marketing firms – named the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency by Advertising Age and among Deloitte's 2011 Technology Fast 500™. Founded in 2002, The Search Agency has grown to more than 180 employees worldwide with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, and additional offices in San Francisco, East Greenwich, Baltimore, Tampa, London, Sydney, Toronto and Bangalore. For more information, go to  

SOURCE The Search Agency

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