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iPad and tablet users click on more search ads than desktop users, study finds

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The latest Paid Search Quarterly Benchmarking Report, conducted by online ad platform vendor Marin Software, has found that iPad and other tablet users tend to click on paid search ads at a higher rate than desktop or smartphone users – and at lower cost per click.

According to the report, although paid search ads directly targeted at tablets only comprises 2% of overall paid search spend, the click through rate (CTR) on tablets is 37% higher compared to desktops. Furthermore, advertisers targeting tablets like the iPad enjoy a lower average cost per click (CPC) compared to both desktops and mobile devices.

Marin Software’s Paid Search Quarterly Benchmarking Report consists of key trends and statistics uncovered through an examination of the Marin Global Search Index. The Marin Global Search Index is comprised of data from more than 800 large-scale advertisers and agencies that collectively spend in excess of $2 billion annually on paid-search through the Marin platform.

The report, which analysed Q3 2011, found that paid search spend targeted to desktops comprised 93% percent of total spend while smartphones earned 5 percent and tablets 2% of spend. Ads served to tablet devices provided a 37% higher CTR than ads on desktops. The average CPC for ads served to tablets was 29% lower than desktops.

Compared to last year, search advertisers on Google saw a 19% increase in clicks and a 24% drop in impressions during the quarter. During the same time, CTR on Google increased 57%, while CPC decreased 18%, suggesting large-scale advertisers realised efficiency gains through improved matching and more effective bidding.

On Yahoo and Bing, advertisers saw a 43% higher click volume at a 10% lower CPC on a year over year basis. Despite CTR declining, CTR increased 9% compared to Q2, implying improved ad matching or traffic characteristics by advertisers.

Additionally, continual refinement of match types from Broad to Phrase to Exact was a significant contributor to improved efficiencies for advertisers. Over the last year, search marketers have increased their use of Exact Match, growing their click-share of the match type by 6% while increasing share of spend by 2%.

“As peoples’ desktop browsing habits carry over to devices like the iPad we anticipate advertisers will shift spend and ad strategy accordingly,” says Ed Stevenson, MD of EMEA and APAC at Marin Software. “To achieve the best results, advertisers will need to develop specific programs for each device type. Marin Software provides online advertisers an intuitive platform from which they can optimise their campaigns and help unlock the full financial potential of a campaign.”

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