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Video: Tap into Smartphone Geo Data

Mobile paid search continues to grow in importance, as phone and tablets now account for 39% of all paid clicks and 30% of spend, according to Merkle|RKG’s latest Digital Marketing Report. Dissecting phone data by geography reveals some interesting trends that advertisers may be able to take advantage of in order to drive even more value from this growing traffic source.

Here’s a look at some of our findings surrounding phone performance by state.

Download the Q4 2014 Digital Marketing Report


Andy Taylor: Hi there, and thanks for joining us at the RKG blog. If you checked out our latest Digital Marketing Report highlighting all the hottest trends across the digital marketing spectrum, you may have noticed some fresh new research taking a look at smartphone usage by state. Let's take a deeper dive into that and talk about how advertisers can use it.

Let's first look at a map that depicts smartphone share of paid search traffic by state. Looking at the extremes, Mississippi sees the highest share of traffic coming from phones at 29%, while Vermont is the lowest at just 12%. The national average is about 23%.

Now, it's no coincidence that Mississippi also has the lowest state median income, as research has shown that lower income individuals are more likely to use phones as their primary connection to the Internet. When we plot state median income against the share of traffic coming from phones, we see that a negative correlation does exist. We also see a negative correlation when plotting age versus smartphone share of paid search traffic. This makes a lot of sense because younger individuals also have less earning power and thus younger states are also typically lower income states.

What about the value of this traffic to advertisers? Taking a look at revenue per click across all device types by state median income results in a plot you might expect. Lower income areas typically carry a lower revenue per click. But, if we look at the value of phone clicks relative to desktop clicks, an interesting trend presents itself. The lowest income and youngest states see the highest value of smartphones relative to desktop. So, while a phone click in a low income state is typically worth less than a phone click in a high income state, the difference in value between a phone click and a desktop click is typically smaller in the low income state.

This means that advertisers, particularly those who serve younger or lower income customers, may be able to drive more out of their phone traffic in lower income areas. However, because Google does not currently allow advertisers to set mobile modifiers based on the geography, this will require some campaign duplication to achieve.

That's it for me, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop me a line in the comments section below. If you want even more fresh content from the spiciest digital marketing report around, click on the link below and check out our DMR. Bye, y'all.