Paid search ads are winning more clicks in mobile SERPs, but marketers must weigh the benefits against the costs to asses true value.

Mobile search must become a top priority for marketers who want to hold the attention of their customers and prospects. While it might be tempting to engage in tactics that offer instant gratification, this approach might throw a wrench in content marketing and SEO down the line.

The great move to mobile

Brafton recently reported that comScore data found desktop search volume is down, but it’s no reason for SEOs to worry. Users are turning to their internet-enabled devices more often when they want information, so there’s going to be a natural shift toward smartphone and tablet queries. When people perform searches on their small-screened technology, they are clicking paid ads more often, according to Google.

The search engine just released a study, which revealed that brands get 88 percent more clicks from their paid ads than organic first-page listings. This might come as a surprise, considering that paid ads receive significantly less engagement via desktops, where natural results for online content attracts 70 percent of all clicks.

PPC priority on smaller SERPs

One reason for this shift could be smaller screens. With less SERP real estate on mobile devices, there is diminutive surface area for the search engine to display both paid and organic listings. An investigation performed for the TutorSpree Blog suggests Google might be giving paid results more space on mobile devices and pushing the majority of organic listings off the page.

Marketers must determine if paid mobile campaigns will generate ROI in the long run, compared with natural content marketing practices.

Given these circumstances, it could seem like a mistake for marketers to neglect paid mobile search campaigns if it means sacrificing web visibility and site traffic. PPC can provide benefits for brands just launching mobile strategies, but it’s smart to consider these efforts as a drop in the content marketing ocean rather than an end-to-end solution.

Leaning too heavily on paid practices can prove dangerous in the long run. PPC campaigns can rack up big bills, but they might also spark ethical questions. The FTC recently brought attention to the fact that some social networks and search engines are not being transparent when displaying paid results along with natural listings in news feeds and mobile SERPs. Internet users cannot always distinguish between the two because they’re not clearly marked as sponsored advertisements. This is not just a problem for search and social sites that could be penalized for deceptive practices, but the effects could trickle down to the domains advertising on them.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.