Paid search CPCs in the US were around 50% cheaper on smartphone than on desktop in Q3, according to data from The Search Agency.

CPCs on smartphones stood at 31 cents compared to 49 cents on tablet and 59 cents on desktop, meaning the level of discount offered on smartphone is roughly the same as Q3 2011.

This is despite the fact that smartphone ads apparently have a much higher CTR than both computers and tablets.

The Search Agency’s report, which is based on client data from search engine advertising tools, shows that smartphone CTR has increased from 4.48% in Q3 2011 to 5.71% in Q3 2012.

In contrast, CTR on desktop and tablet has remained relatively flat around 2.3% and 3.6% respectively.


The report also highlights the increase in click share for mobile devices. 

During Q3 2012 smartphones and tablets accounted for 22% of all click traffic – a considerable increase from about 10% of all click traffic in Q3 2011.

Smartphones have seen a 50% increase in click share year-on-year, moving from 8.23%to 13.32%, while tablet click share has increased by 339%, albeit from a much lower base of 2.6% up to 9.1%. 

The comparatively high CTR and low cost of smartphone CPCs presents a good opportunity for advertisers, and stats from IgnitionOne show that the dollars have begun to pour into mobile search.

Spending on smartphones and tablets increased 333% in Q2 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. Overall, mobile search made up 14% of total search advertising spend in Q2, up slightly from 12.3% in Q1.

But despite the boom in mobile search, we have found that brands are failing to take advantage of the opportunity.

Looking at the PPC results for the top three search terms in the UK, only six out of the 15 paid search results linked to mobile sites.

This is a huge missed opportunity for these brands, and means some of the money they have spent on securing prominent positions in paid search is potentially going to waste as they have failed to account for the mobile searcher.