Advertising for Mobile Devices in Product Listing Ads

With the fourth quarter almost here, AdGooroo decided to examine advertising for a sure-fire hot holiday gift item, mobile devices, on what will likely be the preeminent holiday search marketing medium, Google’s Product Listings Ads (PLAs) a.k.a. Google Shopping Campaigns.

To do so, our newest report, “Advertising for Mobile Devices in Product Listing Ads” examines advertising activity for 339 keywords related to mobile devices on U.S. Google Product Listing Ads from April to June 2014.

In total we found 327 advertisers spent $26.4 million sponsoring the 339 mobile device-related keywords during the period, at an average Clickthrough Rate of 6.54% and an average Cost Per Click of $2.26. Note: advertisers may be sponsoring additional mobile device-related keywords in Google’s Product Listing Ads that, if measured, would alter the figures discussed in this report.

Top Advertisers – Best Buy Bests All

Mobile Device PLA Top 20 by Spend

The Top 20 Advertisers by PLA Spend on mobile device keywords contains a mixture of telecommunications providers, omnichannel retailers, and online-only retailers. AT&T led in spend ($5.8 million), followed by Sprint ($5.4 million), Best Buy ($5.2 million), Walmart ($2 million), and Verizon Wireless ($1.8 million) in the Top 5.

However, Best Buy was the clear performance leader among the Top 5 as well as the Top 20 overall, spending less than AT&T and Sprint but gaining the most impressions (39 million) and clicks (2.4 million) of any advertiser as well as the highest impression share (68%).

Among the Top 5, Best Buy also had the lowest Cost Per Click ($2.17) and (not depicted in the chart above) the highest ad coverage, with its ads showing up 72% of the time.

In addition, Best Buy had far more ads running (1,178) than the other four advertisers in the Top 5, which averaged 229 keywords each.  Only two of the other 322 advertisers sponsored more ads than Best Buy: eBay (2,228) and Rakuten (1,224).

As the chart shows, spending on PLAs for mobile device keywords is highly concentrated among the very top advertisers. For example, the top 3 advertisers (AT&T, Sprint, Best Buy) averaged nearly $5.5 million in spend while the bottom 3 advertisers (HSN, TigerDirect and averaged just over $79,000 each.

Share of Voice

Mobile Device PLA Share of Voice Trending - AdGooroo

The Share of Voice Trending chart above highlights the strength of Best Buy’s program, showing the retailer (depicted in magenta) leading in impression share in 9 of 13 weeks. It also documents a June surge by Walmart (in green), which increased its PLA impressions for mobile device keywords by nearly 160% between May and June 2014, for instance.

Interestingly, the chart additionally reveals a tactical change by Verizon Wireless, which dropped PLA advertising for its site (in yellow) in early June in favor of a PLA program with Google’s Channel Intelligence platform (in red), adding some 3.7 million impressions for the telecommunications provider during the month.

Top 20 Keywords & Beyond – iPhone vs. Samsung Galaxy

The 339 mobile device keywords in the study included both branded terms for specific models as well as generic keywords such as ‘mobile phone’.

Mobile Device PLA Top 20 Keywords

The Top 3 terms by Spend underscore the popularity of Apple’s iPhone: ‘iphone 5s’ ($4.5 million), ‘iphone 5c’ ($4.2 million) and ‘iphone’ ($1.7 million). In fact, the $10.4 million spent on these three iPhone terms alone totaled 39% of PLA spending on all 339 mobile device keywords we examined from April to June 2014.

Further, there were 42 additional iPhone keywords among the 339 terms we studied, which added an additional $1.4 million in spend, bringing the total amount spent on iPhone keywords to $11.8 million or 45% of all spend. (It should be noted that the iPhone 6 had not yet been released during the period we examined or we’d likely see very strong activity on that term as well.)

For comparison, we found 49 keywords for iPhone rival, Samsung Galaxy, totaling $3.5 million in spend. These included 3 Galaxy terms in the top 20, ‘samsung galaxy s4’ ($1.1 million) , ‘samsung galaxy note 3’ ($693,000), ‘galaxy s4’ ($401,000), and ‘samsung galaxy s3’ ($251,000).

The following chart offers a deeper, side-by-side comparison of PLA activity on iPhone and Samsung Galaxy keywords during the period. Notably, the 45 iPhone keywords had half as many advertisers and nearly half as many ads but twice as many clicks as the 49 Samsung Galaxy keywords.

Mobile Device PLA report iPhone vs Samsung Galaxy - AdGooroo

Additional Observations on the Top 20 Keywords

  • The keywords in the Top 20 with the highest Clickthrough Rate were ‘samsung galaxy note 3’ (7.46%) and ‘samsung galaxy s4’ (7.02%).
  • The generic term ‘tablet’ had the lowest CTR (3.82%).
  • Keywords with the highest and lowest average Cost Per Click were ‘best tablet’ ($13.18) and ‘ipad mini’ ($0.75).
  • ‘best tablet’ also had the most advertisers (39) while ‘iphone 5c’ had the least (8).
  • 13 of the Top 20 keywords by Spend had a minimum advertised price of $0 or $1, reflecting the presence of telecommunications providers like AT&TSprint and Verizon, which often advertise a free phone with a mobile service contract.
  • The highest maximum price seen, $5,350 was for the keyword ‘cell phones’. The corresponding ad was from eBay and promoted “10 Brand Unlocked Samsung S5” mobile devices. The next highest maximum price seen was $4,188 for the keyword ‘tablet’. The advertiser was and the product advertised was a Panasonic Toughbook.

Download the full report here