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Google Q2: mobile surge raises CPCs, not retail performance

Published: July 16, 2015

Author: Bob Sturges

Google’s mobile surge continued unabated in Q2 2015, with volume, conversions, and cost per click on the rise but conversion rate — particularly for eCommerce — failing to rise proportionately, our data shows.
We compared year-over-year data in overall search (including Google Shopping) and display across desktop, mobile, and tablets. The rise in mobile’s share of volume (of impression and of clicks, shown below) was particularly notable in search:
2015 q2
2014 q2
Mobile CPCs in both Shopping (note: numbers include a small client subset) and Search rose dramatically, with a year-over-year increase of 42% compared with a 22% increase for desktop. These dramatic CPC increases could cause advertisers to eventually seek out a more diverse distribution of spend across channels or strategies rather than being highly focused on Google Search. Overall in search, mobile clicks accounted for 34% of total clicks and 26% of total conversions, compared with 24% and 11%, respectively, in Q2 2014. The mobile CVR increase in search overall showed a healthy trend.
The Shopping-specific data, however, reflects the industry trend of relatively poor mobile performance in ecommerce, which has lagged behind mobile B2B. In Q2 2015, mobile clicks represented 46% of all Shopping clicks, as opposed to 32% for the same accounts in Q2 2014. Yet mobile Shopping conversions rose from 17% of total conversions in 2014 to only 26% in 2015 despite garnering almost half the overall click volume.
Certainly, many of those mobile clicks led to unattributed downstream conversions on other devices, which Google is working to track more effectively with its cross-device conversions feature. The greater issue, however, is that companies have been slow to fully optimize mobile sites, settling instead for responsive designs that simply re-size the desktop experience.
With the growth of mobile demand — and costs — showing no sign of slowing, ecommerce brands have a clear takeaway: optimize for mobile as a separate experience or continue to invest in a bigger, and leakier, funnel.

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