A report from Marin Software points to the rise of mobile search, as paid search clicks from mobile devices doubled in the fourth quarter of 2011.

A report from Marin Software found that PPC campaigns generated twice as much activity from smartphone and tablet users in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the previous three-month time period. Search ads that reached iPad users generated 38 percent higher click-through rates than ads targeting desktop users, the report found. This should be a sign to paid and organic search marketers that mobile search is on the rise.

In general, mobile PPC clicks accounted for 10 paid search clicks in the fourth quarter. Moreover, users were more likely to click paid search ads from their smartphone or tablet than they were when viewing ads on their personal computers.

Paid search campaign spending jumped 35 percent last quarter, and total click volumes saw 56 percent growth over the previous quarter. As such, click-through rates were 23 percent higher and cost per click fell 14 percent, according to Marin.

In terms of the three most popular search engines, Google generated 48 percent more clicks for search marketers, while Yahoo and Bing each rose 43 percent when compared to the same quarter in 2010. Additionally, paid search will likely see more clicks from mobile users as the mobile web continues its growth. Brafton reported recently that 44.4 percent of smartphone users accessed the web from their handset in fourth quarter of 2011. The figure represents steady growth from the third quarter when just more than 42 percent used their device’s web browsing regularly.

“In Q4 2011, we saw paid search marketers allocate a larger portion of budgets to mobile devices than ever before,” Matt Lawson, vice president of marketing and partnerships at Marin Software, said in a release.

Lawson added that increased interest in PPC campaigns toward the end of 2011, paired with greater value seen by marketers, will likely yield more investment in PPC moving forward.

Using both PPC and SEO as part of a search marketing campaign can help businesses improve their overall web presence and see more value from their spending, especially if lead generation is a goal. Brafton reported in November that a direct comparison of SEO and PPC campaigns found that 57 percent of B2B companies named SEO as their greatest source of lead generation, compared with one-quarter who pointed to PPC. B2C companies, also cited SEO as more valuable for lead generation, with 41 percent saying it worked best, whereas 34 percent placed PPC No. 1. 

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.