Shoppers clicking from smartphone search ads account for 30% of total online orders stemming from search ads, according to an Adlucent analysis of 32 retailers’ Google Product Listing Ad and text ad spending over the holidays.

Retailers’ increased paid search ad spending paid off over the holidays, according to data from 32 of digital marketing agency Adlucent’s retail clients for the period of Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) to Christmas Day.

Shoppers clicking from paid search ads spent 45% more year over year during that period, thanks in large part to retailers boosting their spending on paid search ads that appear on consumers’ smartphones.

Smartphones accounted for 26% of the revenue retailers generated from paid search ads, up 35% from a year earlier. Tablets accounted for 12% (down 14%) and desktops 62% (down 6%).

Smartphones also accounted for 52% of site traffic that stemmed from paid search ads (up 11%) and 30% of orders (up 35%). For the sake of comparison, tablets accounted for 12% of traffic (down 9%) and 13% of orders (down 16%), while desktops generated 36% of traffic (down 10%) and 57% of orders (down 9%).

While the Adlucent data examines both Google’s Product Listing Ads—the ads that appear with product images on Google search results pages—and text ads—retailers’ approaches to smartphone ads largely focused on PLAs between Thanksgiving and Christmas, says Holly Pauzer, client insights and research manager at Adlucent.


“Retailers increasing their spending on mobile PLA ads paid off in higher conversion rates,” she says.

Looking holistically across all devices, PLA orders rose 58% while text ad orders jumped 31%. On smartphones, PLA orders soared 117% and text ad orders increased 96%.

Because more retailers allocated more of their paid search ad dollars to ads that appear on shoppers’ smartphones, the cost per click for mobile ads rose 7.8%, Adlucent reports. The cost per click for desktop ads rose 23%.