Is “next year” finally here (and no, despite living in Chicago, I’m not talking about the Cubs)? Digital marketing prognosticators have long predicted that we are on the cusp of the “year of mobile” to the point where it’s become something of a running gag, but according to Kenshoo’s latest global digital marketing trends, the promise of mobile marketing is finally being fulfilled.

On the social advertising side, Kenshoo tracked a YoY increase of +167% in mobile spending, which drove an overall rise in spending of +114%. For paid search, it was a +37% gain in mobile that spurred overall spending to increase +10%, and it is worth noting that desktop and tablet spending were mostly flat YoY for the channel, so mobile was really a gigantic story when it comes to overall search market growth.


When you consider that cost-per-click rates are lower for smartphones than for desktops or tablets, one might infer that marketers are somehow “shifting” dollars to a lower-cost device, but many campaigns are now optimized using bid modifiers across multiple devices, rather than targeting one or the other device exclusively.


However, the fact that we also see impression (+121% YoY) and click (+73%) volumes rising for search on smartphones demonstrates that handheld devices are where consumers are searching, and subsequently clicking on ads in greater numbers to make up any perceived shortfall based purely on desktop performance.


With social, the reduction of impression inventory that we have been tracking over the past year seems to have mostly run its course, and we expect click-through rates to start to stabilize as they present more of an apples-to-apples comparison. The volatility in impression volume has meant that viewing social through the lens of CPM has been a bit scary, with those rates skyrocketing year over year during this period of adjustment.


However, if you look at cost-per-click rates, things are much more stable. Holistically, there is a sense that social marketers are learning from the lower-impression, higher-engagement world of mobile, and applying those learnings to the desktop environment. More native advertising and engagement-based campaigns are coming to the fore, and the pricing model for the channel is still adapting.


More so then ever, mobile is taking its long-announced place at the digital marketing table, and is likely to drive growth in the space for at least the short-term future. Now, about those Cubs…