Mobile Makes Up One-Third of Ad Conversions on Facebook, Google

Con­sumers are increas­ing­ly using smart­phones and tablets to com­plete online pur­chas­es, and con­sumer engage­ment with brands via mobile ads is on the rise.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, a recent study from Marin Soft­ware finds mobile devices are cap­tur­ing more con­sumer atten­tion and adver­tis­er bud­gets, but it also reveals adver­tis­ers are get­ting bet­ter at opti­miz­ing toward mobile con­ver­sions and that social and dis­play chan­nel CPCs may be a way for adver­tis­ers to get addi­tion­al clicks with­out increas­ing their bud­gets. In addi­tion, Marin says con­sumer behav­ior varies dras­ti­cal­ly by plat­form and under­stand­ing the inter­sec­tion between chan­nel and device is crit­i­cal for mar­keters to reach their tar­get audi­ences and increase con­ver­sions.

Marin Soft­ware, which pro­vides a cross-chan­nel adver­tis­ing cloud for per­for­mance mar­keters, issued its Q3 Per­for­mance Mar­keters’ Bench­mark Report, which looks at quar­ter­ly and year-over-year trends based on the Marin Glob­al Online Adver­tis­ing Index, which tracks more than $6 bil­lion in annu­al­ized ad spend on the Marin plat­form. In par­tic­u­lar, the study ana­lyzed the con­ver­sion rate of mobile ads and found not only that smart­phones and tablets are increas­ing­ly being used by con­sumers to com­plete online pur­chas­es, but smart­phones and tablets now com­prise about one-third of ad con­ver­sions on Face­book and Google.

Social & Search Mobile Ad Conversions Growing

Specif­i­cal­ly, dur­ing Q3 2014, Marin found more than one out of every three ad con­ver­sions on Face­book took place on a mobile device with mobile ad con­ver­sions increas­ing 16 per­cent quar­ter-over-quar­ter. In addi­tion, mobile ads on Face­book account­ed for 52 per­cent of ad impres­sions and 63 per­cent of clicks, Marin report­ed. On Google, Marin found mobile devices com­prised 31 per­cent of paid search impres­sions and 38 per­cent of search ad clicks. Sim­i­lar to Face­book, mobile account­ed for 30 per­cent of ad con­ver­sions with mobile con­ver­sions increas­ing 2.4 per­cent quar­ter-over-quar­ter and near­ly 11 per­cent year-over-year, Marin report­ed. This mobile con­ver­sion trend is con­sis­tent across chan­nels, with sim­i­lar increas­es seen for search, social, and dis­play ads as con­sumers engage more with and com­plete trans­ac­tions from mobile devices, Marin adds. In dis­play adver­tis­ing, Marin report­ed sim­i­lar trends: Mobile devices account­ed for 40 per­cent of ad impres­sions, 54 per­cent of ad clicks and 38.6 per­cent of con­ver­sions. Mobile con­ver­sions increased 4.4 per­cent quar­ter-over-quar­ter and 15.8 per­cent year-over-year. “We have been fol­low­ing this for the past year and it’s pret­ty much on track for our pre­dic­tions from ear­li­er this year,” said Bri­an Lee, mar­ket research ana­lyst at Marin. “It’s just kind of on trend.”

More Consumers Will Convert More Often On Mobile Devices

The rise in ad con­ver­sions on mobile devices sug­gests con­sumers are becom­ing increas­ing­ly more com­fort­able using smart­phones and tablets to com­plete online trans­ac­tions, accord­ing to Marin. What’s more, Marin expects con­sumers to con­tin­ue to increase engage­ment with brands via mobile ads and to com­plete more pur­chas­es with their mobile devices.  Adver­tis­ers, in turn, are tak­ing advan­tage and aug­ment­ing their invest­ment in mobile ads for search, social and dis­play chan­nels, accord­ing to Marin. Adver­tis­ers have also been mak­ing more mobile-friend­ly web­sites and eas­i­er, more intu­itive land­ing pages, and site pages with form fills that are eas­i­er to com­plete on mobile devices, Lee said. “Like, say, a cou­ple of years ago, if you went to mobile site, there was a long form to fill,” Lee said. “Now it’s a lot eas­i­er to check out, link­ing to your Google Wal­let infor­ma­tion or what­ev­er. It’s a lot eas­i­er to con­vert than before.”

The Mobile Disparity: Ad Spend vs. Conversion Share

How­ev­er, a dis­crep­an­cy remains between the amount adver­tis­ers spend on tablets and the clicks on them. For instance, look­ing at search, Lee said there’s about 8 per­cent of spend on tablets ver­sus 15 per­cent of clicks and 12 per­cent of con­ver­sions. “Adver­tis­ers should be look­ing to spend more on tablets because con­sumers are con­vert­ing more often than adver­tis­ers are spend­ing,” Lee said. “The pro­por­tions are off.” In addi­tion, it’s always been dif­fi­cult for mobile adver­tis­ers to cor­rect­ly attribute mobile con­ver­sions because a con­sumer might click on an ad, but then go to a store, make a phone call or com­plete the pur­chase with a desk­top, and it’s hard for adver­tis­ers to track that, Lee said. “Until an adver­tis­er can prop­er­ly attribute these con­ver­sions back to the ini­tial mobile click, it will be hard to defin­i­tive­ly quan­ti­fy the num­ber of mobile con­ver­sions and con­ver­sion rate,” Marin said. “Across the board, there is a dis­par­i­ty in mobile spend ver­sus con­ver­sion share, and under­stand­ing where con­ver­sions are com­ing from can help an adver­tis­er cor­rect­ly allo­cate spend to where it dri­ves the most rev­enue.” And even though it is hard to track and mea­sure, adver­tis­ers need to pay atten­tion to con­sumers who are click­ing on mobile ads because they are far more like­ly to actu­al­ly vis­it stores, Lee added.

60% Of All Spend Is On Mobile For Social

In addi­tion, Marin found about 60 per­cent of all spend is on mobile for social. “Social is a big mobile kind of push­er,” Lee said. “So if you’re look­ing to invest in social, it’s def­i­nite­ly worth also kind of expand­ing more into mobile social than desk­top social.” Mar­keters should take advan­tage of the mobile reach and engage­ment that social plat­forms have, while lever­ag­ing the rel­a­tive­ly high­er con­ver­sion rates on desk­tops and search, Marin said. “Prop­er­ly uti­liz­ing each plat­form and device to their rel­a­tive strengths will become more cru­cial as we enter the hol­i­day sea­son in Q4,” accord­ing to the study.

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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