Merkle|RKG-Mobile-Share-US-Organic-Search-Q22012-Q22015-July2015Mobile represented an estimated 45% of US organic search visits in Q2, steady from Q1, as Google continued to capture the vast majority (89%) of mobile organic search visits, according to the latest quarterly report [download page] from Merkle|RKG. Apple mobile devices again generated an estimated 30% of all organic search visits – more than 19% for iPhones and more than 10% for iPads – compared to 13% from Android phones (11%) and tablets (2%).

Continuing earlier trends, mobile played a greater role in traffic share for Google (47%) and Yahoo (46%) than for Bing (30%). It should be noted that Google itself recently reported that mobile now accounts for a majority share of searches in the US, so it appears that the RKG client figures may be slightly low.

Mobile devices played a slightly lesser role in paid search, per the Merkle|RKG report, accounting for 41% of paid search clicks in Q2 (24% phone; 17% tablet). The analysts note that with mobiles producing 43% of paid search clicks (below the estimated 47% of organic search clicks) for Google, “advertisers have not been willing to spend as much on mobile traffic given measured performance differences with desktop.” Even so, Google highlighted the strong growth of mobile in its core search business in its Q2 earnings report that exceeded expectations.

Combined, mobile devices accounted for 31% of paid search spending in Q2 2015, according to the Merkle|RKG report, favoring tablets (~20%) over smartphones (~12%) though with the latter growing more quickly. Growth in mobile search ad spending has been a theme in reports covering Q2, as an IgnitionOne study [download page] revealed that its clients upped spending on smartphones by 71% year-over-year in Q2, with tablet spending up 22%. That report, however, found spending weighted more towards phones (59% share of US clients’ mobile search spend) than tablets (41%).

Meanwhile, a report from Kenshoo covering global activity among its clients also found smartphone spending up by 71% year-over-year, with smaller growth (+4%) for tablets. Mobile devices accounted for 38% of search ad spend in Q2 for Kenshoo clients, as well as 34% of advertiser revenue and 44% of paid search clicks.

In other search-related trends in Q2:

  • Overall paid search spending saw double-digit growth in the US according to Merkle|RKG (+14%) and IgnitionOne (+22%);
  • Search ad spending in North America grew by 8% year-over-year, per an Adobe Digital Index report [pdf], while globally search spend increased by 10%, according to Kenshoo;
  • Both total clicks and CPCs grew on a year-over-year basis in the US according to the Merkle|RKG and IgnitionOne studies;
  • Google brand ad CPCs surpassed those of Bing Ads for the first time in Q2 2015, details the Merkle|RKG report;
  • Smartphone CPCs and revenue-per-click gradually improved relative to desktops, says Merkle|RKG, though remained 58% lower on both counts, with Adobe’s study also declaring that “mobile visitors are not as valuable in terms of RPV as those arriving from the desktop”;
  • “Mobilegeddon” fears were in fact well-founded, says Adobe in its report, revealing that sites not optimized for mobile saw a decrease of up to 10% in organic search traffic;
  • Globally, the Adobe report shows that retail had the largest increase in SEM spend (+17%), though the travel sector had the biggest increase in CTR (+39%) and the auto sector in CPCs (+15%); while
  • For its part, IgnitionOne’s analysis of its clients’ activity finds the largest increase in spend (in the US) coming from education advertisers (+38%), while finance advertisers experienced the largest growth in CTR.
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