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Mobile search ad budgets jump 221pc in Q1: report

Mobile paid search budgets grew 221.1 percent during the first quarter of 2012 as smartphone and tablet penetration continues to grow, according to a new report from IgnitionOne.

Mobile search accounted for 12.3 percent of total search advertising spend during the first quarter. The report, Yahoo!/Bing Resurgence and Mobile Ad Momentum Lead Strong Q1 Results, also points to the strength of tablets in search, with tablet devices accounting for 67.4 percent of total mobile search advertising budgets for the quarter.

?Mobile and tablet search advertising is growing at an enormous rate with combined spending up 221 .1 percent year-over-year and impressions up 119 .9 percent,? said Roger Barnette, president of IgnitionOne, Atlanta, GA. ?Much of this is driven by tablets.

?Sixty-seven percent of the combined mobile/tablet search advertising spending is from tablets,? he said.

?The level of engagement we are seeing on tablets and smart phones is astounding.?

Mobile engagement
While the mobile search ad spend up was up significantly year-over-year, the rate of growth was slower than in the previous quarter.

Per IgnitionOne, it is not unusual to see such a drop in growth rates between the fourth quarter ? when marketers increase their spending around the holidays ? and the first quarter, when budgets go back to normal.

The report also found that mobile clicks were up 246.1 percent year-over-year during the first quarter, growing at a faster rate than in the previous quarter. The increase points to the growing use of mobile to help consumers find what they are looking for.

Mobile search is proving to be a successful strategy for marketers, with tablets delivering click through rates of 3.1 percent and mobile devices 4.4 percent. These numbers are higher than the 2.5 percent reported for PCs.

The report also found that mobile impressions were up 119.9 percent during the first quarter. However, similar to ad spend, the rate of growth for impressions slowed compared with the previous quarter.

Growth will accelerate
The growth in mobile search is higher than for search overall, according to the report. IgnitionOne reported that the overall spend on search grew 30.3 percent during the first quarter.

Interestingly, the report also points to Yahoo!/Bing?s growth in search, which is dominated by Google both in desktop and on mobile.

Yahoo!/Bing experienced a 46.4 percent year-over-year increase in search advertising spend in the United States compared with Google?s 26.6 percent increase. Yahoo!/Bing also posted a 14.3 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in search spend while Google saw a 5.4 percent decrease compared with fourth quarter.

The growth in tablet search should be a wake-up call for marketers who are not yet leveraging search advertising on these devices.

?We feel very strongly that mobile paid search will continue to grow and in fact accelerate in the coming year,? Mr. Barnette said.

?Marketers are just beginning to fully take advantage of these platforms for search ? and as the click through rates show, consumers are also responding well to advertising there,? he said.

?Marketers are also doing a better job creating mobile enabled Web sites and user experiences that will continue to help the mobile ad ecosystem.?