Mobile devices achieve higher click-through rates than desktops when it comes to UK paid search ads, according to a report from Marin Software.

The data looks at how different devices performed during 2012, with smartphones achieving the highest CTR at 5.87%, compared to 3.93% on tablet and 2.29% on desktop.

And though the same is true of the Eurozone, the difference is less pronounced – smartphones achieved a CTR of 4.78%, compared to 4.48% on tablet and 3.1% on desktop.

The findings come from Marin's new report that looks at how smartphones and tablets are changing paid search.

It shows that as well as achieving the highest CTR, smartphone clicks are cheaper than the corresponding desktop and tablet clicks.

Furthermore, tablet CPCs saw the most significant growth during 2012, averaging a 36% increase in the UK compared to 24% for smartphones and 14% for desktop.

It will be interesting to see how Google’s recent shift to Enhanced Campaigns will impact mobile CPCs during 2013.

The new method of managing PPC means that advertisers will be able to target people based on the time of day, their location and the device they are using.

The idea is to simplify AdWords by allowing users to manage their campaigns in one place, but it also means that advertisers no longer have the ability to run mobile-only campaigns.

But despite the encouraging performance in terms of CTR and CPC, it’s the same old story for smartphones when it comes to conversions.

Marin’s report shows that smartphones achieved a conversion rate of just 1.6% in the UK during 2012, compared to 2.6% on tablet and 4.1% on desktop.

This supports data from Kenshoo, which found that tablets delivered 18.3% of UK paid search conversions in 2012 and 21.3% of revenue, while smartphones achieved just 3.6% of overall retail conversions from PPC and 3.4% of revenue.

It also reported that the conversion rate from smartphone visits is just 1.59% compared to 5.85% on tablet and 6.53% on desktop.

Overall, Marin's report shows that the proportion of UK paid clicks from smartphones and tablets almost doubled during 2012, from 14.8% in January to 24.4% in December.

In comparison, the proportion of mobile clicks on Google in the Eurozone jumped from 5.9% to 14.5%.

However mobile search ad budgets are still slightly behind clicks, with the share of spend on mobile increasing from 9.94% to 19.32% during 2012.

Meanwhile, Eurozone advertisers upped their investment in mobile search from 4.8% to 11.8% of paid-search budgets.

Marin’s data comes from brands and advertisers that annually spend more than $4bn on paid search.

David Moth

Published 12 February, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (5)

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

hiya, David,

thanks a lot for this. I'm not sure the description of enhanced campaigns is quite right.

"The new method of managing PPC means that advertisers will be able to target people based on the time of day, their location and the device they are using."

you can already target based on time/location/device. Sadly Enhanced Campaigns actually takes away some of that functionality, rather than adding it.


over 5 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

@Dan, I was under the impression that it added some targeting functions, while removing the option to run entirely separate campaigns. I shall go away and do more research...

over 5 years ago


Rutland Walker

Hello, David. Great article. More so than any other sector, I have found my home improvement contractor clients in particular (plumbers, roofers, etc) are seeing significantly better results with mobile ppc and in specifically mobile click-to-call. We have seen significant improvement in every metric.

Best to you,
Rutland Walker
Atlanta, GA

over 5 years ago


Frank D'Angelo

Like this cross platform conversion there US based data???

over 5 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

@Frank, I think there is US data in the full report. You can download it here:

over 5 years ago

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