The report’s authors predict that the current rate of growth will continue, meaning that by the end of 2014 mobile devices will account for more than 40% of paid search impressions.

For more information on this topic, download Econsultancy’s Paid Search Marketing (PPC) Best Practice Guide. The guide will help beginners and experts to plan, create, launch and optimise paid search campaigns and maximise their return on investment.

It includes best practice around mobile paid search, integrating paid search with other channels (including offline), and takes into account Google’s new Enhanced Campaigns function.

Paid search spend

Though smartphones experienced the lion’s share of impression growth (60% vs. 42% tablet vs. 9% desktop), in terms of marketing spend tablet devices saw the largest year-on-year increase. 

However the growth in tablet spend is a direct result of Google’s switch to enhanced campaigns, which forced advertisers to bid collectively on desktop and tablet, thereby substantially increasing the year-on-year spend for tablets.

The relative lag in smartphone paid search spend is likely down to the fact that many websites are still not correctly optimised, so marketers don’t want to waste money investing in paid search.

It’s also reflective of the fact that CPCs are generally lower on smartphone, so companies don’t have to allocate as much budget.

The report shows that CPCs on all devices increased during 2013 but have fallen sharply in Q1 2014. 

Desktop and tablet CPCs remain slightly higher year-on-year, but smartphone CPCs in Q1 2014 were $0.76 compared to $0.79 in the same period last year.

The Search Agency’s data is based on its US clients’ PPC spend. Go here to download the full report.