Many of us in the digital marketing world have been hearing for some time that in the future, most of our behavior, budgets and advertising would happen on mobile devices.
As it turns out, the future is now. It just depends on how you define it.
In the latest Skai Digital Marketing Snapshot, the share of clicks coming from smartphones and tablets was an impressive 71% for social ads. For paid search, the combination of the two devices hit 52%, crossing the halfway point for the first time.
In terms of ad spend, the majority (63%) of social spending in Q1 was on mobile, while for search, the total was just over two out of every five dollars spent at 42%.
Buried in all of this is an important definition. If we define “mobile” as “smartphones and tablets,” then yes, mobile clicks are a majority in both channels. But is that the right definition?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. Facebook combines smartphones and tablets to the point where they are inseparable in our analysis. So on the social side, mobile means smartphones and tablets by default.
For search, it’s a different story. For example, if an advertiser uses mobile bid adjustments in their search campaigns, that bid adjustment affects smartphones but not tablets. You can see this when you consider the cost per click (CPC) trends for each device. Desktops and tablets are pretty much identical.
So while we can combine the two devices for the purposes of comparison, this definition is more for convenience than it is based on behavior of the devices, which is functionally a bit different.
That’s how the two channels differ when it comes to mobile, but in our trend data, we see several other ways in which they are similar. Specifically, mobile growth is a huge driver of overall spending growth in both channels. Year-over-year (YoY), smartphone and tablet spend grew 122% for social and 45% for search. For search, if we only consider smartphones, that YoY growth jumps to 77%.
By comparison, the overall YoY spend growth was +86% for social, and +13% for search.
While desktop ads aren’t going away – clicks and spend on desktop search keyword ads increased 5% YoY – the overall picture is that mobile, however you define it, continues to play a dominant role in the growth of ad spending in both paid search and paid social marketing, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.