Monthly Archives: February 2013

Smartphone PPC is dropping?

eMarketer reported the study done by ‘The Search Agency’ showed that 1 out of 4 paid search clicks are from mobile device (tablet or smartphone) in Q4 2012 (YoY growth was almost doubled). An interesting point want to note was the CPC (or PPC) change in the past year:

  • Computer / Desktop: CPC of a click from computer was increased 14% YoY (from $0.56 to $0.64)
  • Tablet: CPC increased 20% YoY (from $0.4 to $0.5)
  • Smartphone: CPC, on the contrary, dropped from $0.36 to $0.3 (-20% YoY)

From the chart in emarketer’s page, share of click from Tablet and smartphone was also double. But why the CPC of Smartphone dropped?

One of the possible factor was that more advertisers are more serious in managing their campaigns running on mobile device when % of click and % of spending has reached a significant level. Smartphone traffic, is notorious for its click quality and lower conversion rate. Some advertisers may pull out smartphone traffic or lower the bid price
for the campaign. At the same time, Google, as well as Bind Networks might also increase the discount rate for smartphone traffic, as (1) a way to compensate advertisers for lower conversion rate; and (2) retain advertiser for this growing property.

On the contrary, in the traditional battlefield ‘desktop’ or ‘PC’, the growth in PPC is not surprising at all. It can be as a result was more keen competitions among advertisers. It can also be a result of platform change. When comparing to 5 to 6 years ago, I can say Google has put far lot more ad at the top of the page. Beyond increasing the ad served to users, the platform might have CPC algo changed so that advertiser need to pay higher for thier ad YoY. From a platform point of view, this is a natural remedial acton to maintain a high annual revenue growth rate when the search volume growth rate has been stagnant.

Undoubtedly, tablet is the rising star in mobile traffic with its fairly good conversion rate when comparing to desktop traffic. I would not be surprised in the near future, the user time spent on tablet will be over that of desktop. Together with user geo-location information, a lot more targeting capability and new ad product will be available in the market soon.

Portals and Mobile App

The Internet is keep changing. Traffic from traditional PC/Laptop has been deteriorating. As techcrunch reported in ‘Unnatural Acts And The Rise of Mobile‘, all different sorts of websites are trying to acquire and retain mobile users by hooks or by crooks. It is because all of them understand that all those left behind will be losers for tomorrow.

What about portal? Portals are used to be the starting point of the Internet. In PC, users are engaged with the homepage of their browser: they consume the news, finance, sport and also login their email account. Website, who could become the homepage of majority users’ browser will become the winner.

On the contrary, mobile device screens are much smaller. It can barely accommodate grids of icons which representing different functions or features. The browser is still there but much less important because typing is not easy with a much smaller or virtual keypads. In addition, many websites have not yet developed its mobile friendly website. The emerging of mobile App are actually riding on 3 advantages:

  1. Desktop app is a installed software which is faster than mobile website
  2. Data usage is lower since many layout components are built inside the app
  3. App layout are device’s form factor specific, user experience is better than mobile website

In the past few years, the Internet portals found themselves difficult to acquire mobile device users. The design of the homepage are very much alike their PC version by change 3 column structure to 1 column structure. People need to scroll down slowly, locate the right textlink or icon before they can use the service. It is simply not fit in the user habits and behaviours.

I think portals can continue to win users’ heart and survive in mobile device if their design can follow the guidelines below:

  1. Use more icons (which are finger friendly) instead of textlink
  2. Simplify the IA (Information architecture) – no one wants to tab 10 times to find a piece of information
  3. Search Suggestion – there must be a very smart engine behind to provide fast, relevant, seasonal keyword suggestion for users. Just repeat again ‘people don’t like to type with a mobile device’.