Consumers have been steadily shifting their online worlds to their mobile devices. You have known this, I have known this, and now apparently, digital advertisers know this, too per Adobe Digital Index’s Q4 2015 report.

Or to be more precise, digital advertisers have known about this trend for the last 10 years but only in the last quarter have they actually shifted their budgets in a meaningful way in response.

The report shows that the momentum behind desktop paid search has also continued to slow — again, not a surprise. What did come as a surprise was the new momentum behind mobile paid search.

The Gap Suddenly Narrows

Specifically, the share of mobile browsing in Q4 was 41 percent according the index. Typically, advertisers have spent far less on mobile search by about 10 percentage points, Adobe’s Digital Index Manager Becky Tasker told CMSWire.

This quarter though, mobile search spend was about 37 percent, an increase that narrowed the gap between advertiser and consumer behavior considerably.

"This was the first quarter where we have seen mobile search spend increase by such a percentage," Tasker noted.

Advertisers Are Getting Smart

Interestingly, publishers are not capitalizing on this trend, Tasker added — at least not yet.

However, the report highlighted that advertisers have gotten very smart about their mobile ad placements. For example, the index showed that the cost of mobile CPC is now 26 percent less on average than desktop CPCs

Lower Costs, Higher Impacts

"Advertisers are taking advantage of low-cost media and optimizing them to get better click through rates," Tasker said. "They are getting the ad for less, but getting more out of it in terms of response."

Desktop click through rates have increased 14 percent in North America and 14 percent in Europe as well, "indicating consumers are responding to the ads they are seeing," the report said. Mobile search has always had higher CTRs than desktop, but in the last two quarters, they have surged 40 percent, suggesting "much better alignment between what consumers are seeking and how advertisers respond."

Title image "JOH_5538" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  star5112