Differences Across Device Usage in Search Engine Advertising

Differences Across Device Usage in Search Engine Advertising

Carsten D. Schultz (University of Hagen, Germany) and Christian Holsing (University of Hagen, Germany)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3114-2.ch010

Abstract

For advertisers, search engine advertising represents an attractive opportunity to selectively reach the target group at a point in time when the prospects are already thematically involved and activated. One question that subsequently arises is if users use various devices during different phases of the search process and if this behavior affects the search engine advertising outcome measured by corresponding performance indicators. The present chapter addresses this question. Based on a search engine advertising campaign of a German service provider, the authors examine the development of performance indicators across multiple devices. Specifically, we retrace the development across desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Thus, the chapter provides insights into device usage in search engine advertising. The chapter concludes with overall trends in search engine advertising.
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Introduction

Multiple devices are becoming more and more widespread in our daily lives. This development also affects online advertising. One dominant form of online advertising is search engine advertising that displays advertisements after users enter a search phrase (e.g., Olbrich & Schultz, 2014). For advertisers, search engine advertising represents an attractive opportunity to selectively reach the target group at a point in time when the prospects are already thematically involved and activated. From the search engine user perspective, this form of advertising is useful because the keywords and the advertising message are matched to the search term entered. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB, 2017), search engine advertising revenue totaled $35.0 billion in the USA in 2016, accounting for 48% of market share. This is a 19% increase from $29.5 billion in 2015. Here, desktop search engine advertising revenue accounted for $17.8 billion (down from $20.5 billion in 2015), whereas mobile search engine advertising revenue amounted to $17.2 billion (up from $9.0 billion in 2015).

The continuous growth of mobile devices’ share in search engine advertising follows the general usage trend that results in sequential and simultaneous use of multiple devices (Broeckelmann & Groeppel-Klein, 2008; de Haan et al., 2015; Shankar et al., 2010). In comparison to desktop personal computers, consumers use mobile devices more frequently but for shorter durations (Cui & Roto, 2008). Mobile devices are used location based, for example outdoors for navigation or in stores to compare prices (Broeckelmann & Groeppel-Klein, 2008; Lee et al. 2005). This behavior seems predominantly driven by informational needs. However, it may be the smaller display size that limits the use of mobile devices for transaction purposes (de Haan et al., 2015; Shankar et al. 2010). The following question then arises: Do consumers use various devices for different purposes and during different phases of their decision processes?

The present study is the first to address this question in the domain of search engine advertising. In particular, it aims to answer the question if the use of different devices affects the various performance indicators used in search engine advertising. The study confirms the prevalence of multiple devices in search engine advertising and shows some differences among them. These device differences need to be addressed when deciding on issues such as the advertising budget, bidding amount, and the structure of the search engine advertising campaign.

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