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Eye-Tracking Heat Map Study for Mobile Search

  |  May 1, 2014   |  Comments

The study sought to find out if mobile ad extensions made a difference in click-through rates on mobile devices. Read on to learn the results.

Smartphone search share is set to reach 50 percent of the search market in just three short years, according to Marin Software's "Mobile Search Advertising Around the Globe: 2014 Annual Report." What does all this mean for search marketers? It means your mobile-targeted search ads must deliver what your audience wants. Where do you start? Since mobile is a completely different form factor, it's great to start at the beginning - where the user's eyes focus when they're searching.

Today we'll dive into:

  • Eye-tracking study with search ads
  • Cost-per-click (CPC) gap in mobile

Do Extensions on Mobile Make a Difference?

Bing conducted a simple, but telling eye-tracking study with search ads and mobile ad extensions. With huge mobile growth (Bing Ads is seeing 122 percent year-over-year growth in mobile ad clicks), this has never been more relevant. Bing Ads did an eye-tracking study and found that, the more extensions your mobile ad has, the more attention it gets. Click-to-call and other mobile extensions make a big difference for search ads. Yes, mobile ad extensions can draw considerable attention from searchers - this is backed up with a 15 percent to 30 percent higher click-through rate (CTR) on mobile devices.


Other Details From Bing Ads Data on Mobile

Also shared were a number of data points from Bing on its mobile network:

  • Ads with multiple mobile extensions including click-to-call show up to 15 percent higher CTR on desktop and 15 percent to 30 percent higher CTR on mobile devices.
  • The average smartphone cost-per-click is 13 percent lower than the average desktop cost-per-click.
  • Seventy percent of mobile queries on Bing Ads are from iOS. Bing powers Web search for Siri on iPhone.
  • Bing's click-to-call feature has a tracking option, which allows you to measure, analyze, and act on the results from your click-to-call ads.

Puzzle on This
Seventy percent of conversions via mobile search happen within five hours, while conversions via desktop search takes weeks to happen - knowing this, is there any reason you wouldn't invest heavily in mobile search? Couple this info with two other pieces: First, that mobile search serves one to two ads for searches because that's what fits on the smaller screen - desktop search serves as many as 11 ads. And second, the CPC for mobile is typically considerably lower than for desktop - so far.

The CPC for mobile search should be significantly higher than for desktop search in many cases based on the competition for those top two spots, and the demand based on such a rapid conversion timeline. How long will this last?

As adoption and technology for call tracking improves, expect this gap to close. In the meantime, it is a great opportunity to jump in, even if you're starting with engine-side click-to-call features which allow you to measure, analyze, and act on the results from your click-to-call ads.

Give Us a Shout

What is your experience with site links and click-to-call in mobile search ads? Do you see positive results? We'd love to hear!


John Gagnon

John Gagnon is a Bing Ads Evangelist (aka “search nerd”) at Microsoft. He has worked for both Bing Ads and Google AdWords, and is a frequent speaker at digital marketing conferences such as SES, SMX, and others. He has advised hundreds of clients ranging from Microsoft teams like Windows and Internet Explorer to small businesses like local garage door repair shops just getting started.

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