Mobile Overtakes Desktop for Paid Search Advertising

August 16, 2018
Samantha Brachat

The future is looking more mobile for ecommerce marketers.


Taking the Lead

Q2 2018 marks the first time mobile paid search spending has surpassed desktop spending. Mobile’s 48% share compares to a 44% desktop share, with the remaining 8% accounted for by tablet spending, according to a study by Kenshoo which analyzed over 500 billion impressions and over $6 billion in advertiser spending. These findings now make mobile the leader in both paid search and paid social spending.

Share of Search Spending

Image Source: Kenshoo

Despite a 12% decrease of mobile cost-per-clicks (which was primarily due to the adoption of new inexpensive mobile shopping ads), mobile search spending is doubling the growth rate of overall search.


Social Media

Search wasn’t the only area that had impressive growth in Q2. Social media saw its overall ad impression count grow by 14% year-over-year, quite a large difference from the 1% growth it had from 2016-2017.

YOY Impression Growth

Image Source: Kenshoo

Instagram in particular, which has recently expanded its shoppable posts to more countries, has been a major contributor in 2018, with its total ad revenue doubling since last year. The new story ad format has contributed to 10% of that revenue.

Additionally, social click-through-rates climbed by 69% since last year as well, showing that mobile social users are becoming increasingly more comfortable engaging with advertisements on their favorite platforms.


A Dynamic Rise

There has been an uptick in new types of mobile-friendly dynamic ad formats on social platforms like videos and carousel ads, and rightfully so; there was a 86% year-over-year spending surge on those types of formats this year.

“Social advertising continues to evolve and it’s changing the way many advertisers use it to reach consumers. Event-driven video campaigns, for example, now extend beyond traditional verticals of gaming and entertainment, reaching into e-commerce and even finance, while more specialised ad types capture the resulting demand,” stated Kenshoo’s senior director of marketing, Chris Costello.



When people look back on 2018 and what the major milestones will be from a digital advertising perspective, it’ll be hard to not flag it as the year that mobile really took off. Considering that local mobile advertising is on the rise, demand for mobile content has never been higher, and mobile videos are driving significant ad revenue growth, there’s a lot fortifying mobile’s foothold as the new device type that businesses are most prominently wanting to advertise on.

It’s paramount for advertisers to take advantage of these trends. Start moving more spend to your mobile campaigns, and start experimenting with some of the newer ad types. Product ads are gaining lots of traction on Instagram, so if you’ve been shy to get your product out on that channel, now is a great time to start.

For more information on our mobile or social offers, please reach out to your account manager.

Happy selling!

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