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Paid search ad spending on Google dips overall, but tablets a bright spot

by David Needle

March 29 2013

Google search ad spending rose for tablets. (Chart: IgnitionOne).
Google search ad spending rose for tablets. (Chart: IgnitionOne).

The money brands spent on paid-search ads using Google dipped 1% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago, but several specific areas of ad spending saw growth in the quarter.

For example, search engine marketers spent more on advertising in Q1 to run ads on smartphone and tablet devices, says digital marketing agency IgnitionOne, which compiled the report. Spending on both devices rose nearly equal amounts, with tablets up 112% and smartphones up 113% from last year. That growth came at the expense of money spent on trying to reach desktop users.

Impressions on tablets rose 129%, and clicks 79%, while smartphones rose 27% and 25%, respectively in the quarter. On average, tablet users spent 17% more time on sites and had 9% higher engagement scores. IgnitionOne uses engagement as part of their scoring system that measures behavior and propensity to convert, compared with PCs.

Across the sample sites, IgnitionOne said the percentage of mobile or tablet users was up to 25% compared with 18% in Q3 2012, with smartphone outnumbering tablet users. But tracking smartphone users continues to be a problem, with 59% blocking cookies and not allowing their clicks to count, compared with 9% of tablet users and 18% of PC users.

Yahoo/Bing on the rise

Overall spending from brands rose 2% in Q1 2013 on paid-search ads compared with Q1 2012, falling 9% in January and bouncing back 9% in February and 11% in March. The Yahoo Bing Network showed the most gains, at 11%.

The report attributes the growth to an increase in the two sites combined market share to 24.4%.

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