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PPC Mobile Search Trends 2015: An Analysis by Device

17 Sep 2015 Steven Carder

in Paid Search

Paid Search Device Trends: Understanding the Relationship between Computer, Mobile, and Tablet traffic
In recent years the increased use of mobile devices and tablets has significantly influenced how and when people access information online.  As a result, it is increasingly important for marketers and business owners to understand how device usage relates to paid search and digital marketing strategy and performance.  Further understanding device trends and how they are evolving will give marketers the opportunity to provide better solutions to their customers and clients.

Given the escalating usage of mobile devices, I thought it would be interesting to compare some of the key paid search performance metrics for a sample of our clients here at Flying Point Digital to see how computers, tablets and mobile devices compare to each other.

After reviewing this article you can apply the learnings to help you:

  • Get a better understanding of device performance
  • Implement new strategies to improve performance

Let’s review the following PPC performance metrics by device to get a better understanding of the paid search device landscape.

  • Traffic (Clicks)
  • Average Cost Per Click
  • Time of Day Traffic
  • Day of Week Traffic

After we review these metrics I will also provide some optimization ideas/recommendations you can use on your accounts.

Traffic (Clicks) Performance

  • Since January of 2014 we have seen a significant shift in traffic between computers and mobile devices
  • Computer traffic has decreased from 67% to 49% of overall traffic
  • Mobile traffic has increase from 21% to 39% of traffic
  • Tablet traffic has stayed flat, around 12%

Percent Traffic by Device


Average Cost Per Click Performance

  • CPC has increased for all devices since 2014
  • The largest increase in Avg.CPC is on mobile devices
  • Comparing all devices to each other - computers generate Clicks at the highest Avg. CPC, followed by mobile and tablet

Percent average CPC by device



Time of Day Performance

  • Computers
    • Maintain the highest percent of traffic throughout the day
    • Traffic peaks during the day (7am – 6pm)
  • Mobile Devices
    • The Mobile percentage of traffic is the highest at the beginning and end of the day
    • Traffic percentage decreases slightly in the middle of the day (when computer traffic spikes), but is somewhat consistent throughout the day
  • Tablets
    • Generate the most traffic in the evenings
    • Traffic spikes to about 20% of overall traffic around 9pm


Percent of device traffic by time of day

Day of Week Performance

  • Computers
    • Maintain the highest percentage of traffic throughout the week
    • Traffic percentage is the highest Monday through Friday
  • Mobile Devices
    • Traffic percentage is highest during the weekend
    • The percentage of traffic on the weekend is almost equal to computer traffic
  • Tablets
    • Percentage of traffic increased to close to 20% on the weekends
    • During the week traffic percentage is consistently around 11%

 Percent device traffic by day of week


Here are some recommendations you can apply to you PPC Campaigns.

  1. Run these reports for the accounts you work on. This will give you a better overall understanding of device Performance
  2. If your accounts have Conversion and Revenue data, also look at device;
    1. Conversion Rate
    2. CPA
    3. Revenue
  3. Use the findings from these reports to evaluate your:
    1. Mobile Website
      1. You are most likely getting more mobile traffic than you realized. Is your website mobile-friendly?  If not you should consider improving the website.
      2. If possible check out the Conversion metrics for your mobile traffic vs. computer traffic. Do those results make sense?  Can you improve the Conversion Rate of your mobile traffic?
  • Are the people looking for your business on mobile, looking for the same information? It might make sense to have specific landing pages or calls to action for mobile traffic.
  1. Keywords
    1. Does it make sense to add Keywords that are more relevant to mobile searches?
  2. Ad Copy
    1. Consider optimizing Ad Copy messaging to be more relevant for mobile users
  3. Extensions
    1. Depending on your business, can you implement Ad Extensions that are helpful to mobile users (for example Location Extensions)?
  4. Scheduling
    1. Based on your business, does it make sense to use bid modifiers to adjust bids during certain times of the day or week?
  5. Attribution
    1. Understanding devise performance may also let you get a more accurate picture of mobile attribution. For example, how mobile traffic might be resulting in offline conversions, or conversions on other devices etc.


As technology continues to evolve, smart digital marketers will strive to understand the changing ways customers interact with digital information, so they can offer more powerful solutions.

In this article we reviewed the SEM device trends we have noticed at Flying Point Digital.  We also reviewed some common factors to consider when, analyzing mobile performance and creating mobile strategy for your Paid Search Campaigns.

Here are the key device trends we observed in our data:

  • Since January of 2014, computer traffic has decreased from 67% of traffic to 49% of traffic, while mobile has increased from 21% to 39%
  • Tablet traffic has stayed consistently around 12% of total paid search traffic
  • Computers have the highest Avg. CPCs among the devices, while tablet has the lowest
  • CPC for mobile devices has increased notably since 2014
  • The percentage of computer traffic peaks in the middle of the day, while the strongest time for Tablet and Mobile is in the evening
  • Computers have the highest percent of traffic Monday through Friday. On the weekends mobile devices receive almost the same amount of traffic as computers, while tablet traffic increases to about 20% of total traffic on the weekends
Paid Search