Advertisers are experiencing greater click through rates from mobile search than desktop advertising, with CTR 2.7 times higher on average. 

This is one of the stats from an Efficient Frontier study of mobile search trends, which also finds that the sector is growing rapidly. 

Growth of mobile search advertising 

While in June 2010, mobile search ads accounted for just 0.34% of total search spend, the figure has increased five-fold to 1.7% in March 2011. 

The study predicts that spending on mobile search will continue to grow rapidly, and may account for 4.3% by the end of 2011. 

Our UK Search Engine Benchmarking Report uncovered similar trends, with the proportion of companies using mobile search doubling from 8% in last year’s report to 16% this year.

Mobile search cost per click

At the moment, cost per click from mobile search advertising is lower, at 60% of desktop CPC on average. By contrast, mobile CPC in the US is normally higher than desktop. 

According to Efficient Frontier: 

The difference between mobile CPC and desktop CPC varies widely between and within verticals – ranging between mobile CPC being twice as much as desktop CPC to desktop CPC being almost 4 times as much as mobile CPC.

This indicates how advertisers are using mobile advertising for different purposes – some aiming to maintain brand presence while others manage their mobile advertising spend based on ROI.

Click through rates

On average mobile CTR is 2.7 times as much as desktop CTR, though this varies between sectors. It can be as much as five times desktop CTR. 

Mobile CTR

At the moment, the higher CTR may well reflect the fact that mobile search advertising is relatively new, and therefore those using it have less competition for clicks. 

Conversion rates

CTR may be good on mobile search, but conversion rates are much lower, just 14% of desktop conversion rates on average. 

It can range between 5% and 80% of desktop conversion rates, so there is a sign that it can be done properly. This is something advertisers can work on though, with landing pages and sites that are optimised for the smaller screen, as well as mobile checkouts

For more, see the Mobile Search Snapshot from Efficient Frontier.