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Tablets triumph as shoppers' preferred search tool

23rd Apr 2013
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Shoppers are increasingly turning to their tablet to research products and services with new figures showing the device is now a more popular browsing tool than smartphones and PCs.

According to the latest quarterly Online Retail report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google, which measures changes and trends in the growth of retail search terms over time, tablet search increased 198% compared with smartphone's growth rate of 66%.

This contributed to an increase of 16% in total retail search volumes, compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

Helen Dickinson, director general at the BRC, explained that the findings showed how tablets and smartphones are becoming essential shopping tools, whether we're at home or on the move, and used on the journey from research to purchase.

“It's easier than ever to compare prices and products online, and retailers are continuing to invest in their websites and their ‘omnichannel' offer so that customers have choice, convenience and flexibility when they shop,” she said.

Adam Stewart, marketing director at Rakuten’s, said that whilst the findings reinforce how critical it is for retailers to be visible across all digital channels, the device is just the start of the shopping journey.

He said: “What the research doesn’t show is the platforms that are shaping shopping decisions within the mobile channel and the role of social in that purchase journey. With HTC handsets equipped with Facebook Home shipping soon, social will soon become the de-facto first destination for some shoppers and in recent months social sharing sites like Pinterest and Fancy have become shop windows of the digital world.”

And marketers certainly seem ready to meet consumers on their channel of choice. Research also out this week from Kenshoo revealed that mobile devices now account for 25% of total paid search spend in the UK.

Kenshoo’s Search Advertising Trends Q1 2013 report indicated that increasing demand for both tablet and phone advertising in the UK has driven up cost-per-click (CPC) to £0.20 on phones and £0.30 for tablets (which is now equal to computers).

According to Kenshoo, the fact that mobile phone ads have a lower CPC than computers and tablets gives UK advertisers the opportunity to maximise clicks by reallocating spend to this device and using advanced key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success,

Aaron Goldman, CMO at Kenshoo, said: “Advertisers should be assessing the value of mobile clicks in alternative ways because you can’t expect a phone to deliver the same rate of direct online sales as devices with bigger screens that are typically used in the home. 

“It’s imperative to track and optimise conversion events like phone calls, app downloads, check-ins, website registrations, store locators.  These are KPIs we should be using to measure the effectiveness of phone clicks.”

Overall, the findings showed that ad spend was up globally by 15% with clicks up 21% and click-through-rate (CTR) also increasing from 1.04% in Q1 2012 to 1.68% in Q1 2013 — a  year-on-year increase of 62%.


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