CPC was up 27% YoY, and did not see the typical decline from Q4 into Q1. In fact, in a lot of cases, CPC has increased since the 2016 holiday season. As expected, much of the overall increase can be attributed to more aggressive competition on mobile . More surprising is the CPC increase that is coming from desktop, especially as both impressions and clicks on desktop devices are decreasing.
The growth was driven by mobile while desktop impressions actually decreased 16% YoY. Desktop clicks also decreased—down 27% YoY—and mobile clicks increased 13%, resulting in an overall 8% decrease in clicks. While some of the gap in click growth compared to impression growth is due to changing search behavior (such as device preferences or voice search, for example), large increases in CPC have also contributed to this gap.
Why mobile and should you be on mobile?
A lot of brands are spending money on mobile because they are being swept up in the hype of mobile. Does, for example, a frozen pizza brand need to be on mobile versus a local pizza restaurant which of course needs to be on mobile.
The best way is to think like a consumer. Where are they most likely to search for your product and what do they want when they search? This does not mean that your site should not be optimized for mobile devices, all sites should but it means that you should challenge your agency on where consumers are searching for your brand and what is the bounce rate versus pages viewed by search terms.