Covario, an independent search marketing firm, issued its Global Paid Search Spend Analysis for the first quarter of 2014, reporting that spending on pay-per-click advertising (PPC) by its enterprise technology, consumer electronics, and retail clients rose by 25% over the same period a year ago and by 7% from the fourth quarter of 2013.
Paid search advertising on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets propelled the growth on a global scale with mobile search spend increasing 135% year-on-year and 35% versus last quarter. Covario reports that mobile platforms now represent 25% of all paid search spending. Among mobile devices, the ad spend breakdown narrowed in the first quarter to 60% for tablets and 40% for smartphones.
At the same time, global cost-per-click (CPC) inflation overall rose 12% in the first quarter from the same period last year and 3% from the prior quarter. Study author Alex Funk, director of global paid media strategy at Covario, attributed this to "maturation of the mobile landscape," as well as search engine moves toward larger ad formats and new advertising extensions stemming from last year's roll-out of Google's Enhanced Campaign initiative.
On a regional basis, the Americas driven by the U.S. saw strong quarterly growth of 30% year-on-year and 5% quarter-on-quarter. For the remainder of 2014, Funk recommends advertisers allocate at least 80% of their regional PPC budgets to Google and plan for a 15% increase in search spending, particularly for product listing ads (PLAs), mobile search and higher ad engagements. He also suggests that marketers up their investments in the top-growing Latin American countries.