Even though U.S. adult smartphone owners outnumber tablet owners by a two-to-one ratio (45 percent vs. 22 percent), advertisers invested more in search ads targeted toward tablets during the final quarter last year, according to a new study of key trends in paid search, mobile and social advertising.
Though smartphones edge out tablets on click volume, search ads on tablets have a higher conversion rate than smartphones, and a lower cost-per-click than desktop ads, making them an attractive investment, according to a study conducted by Marin Software, which provides a digital ad-management platform for advertisers and agencies.
Prior to the fourth quarter of this year, investment in tablet advertising had lagged that of smartphones. Together, tablets and smartphones accounted for 22 percent of paid search clicks and 17 percent of search ad spending.
Marin also found strong and accelerating gains in search share for ads displayed on tablets and smartphones, with these ads delivering quality performance and a higher-than-average click-through-rate (CTR) in most geographies. Travel posted the highest CTR at 3.05 percent, followed by retail (2.76 percent) and healthcare (2.31 percent).
As these devices become more widespread and marketers develop smarter targeting strategies, Marin expects to see an increasing percentage of advertising spending funneled towards smartphones and tablets.
Despite the greater click volume for smartphones, "advertisers invested more on tablets overall," said Matt Lawson, vice president of marketing and partnerships at Marin Software. "Due to the form factor of tablets, consumers find it easier to shop and transact, leading to higher conversion rates on tablets than smartphones and more competition for clicks.
"We expect the trend to continue as the number of tablets in the marketplace increases and as advertisers continue to optimize their campaigns for these devices."