A new report from The Search Agency has revealed an interesting new statistic about the state of PPC in the US, where the first quarter of 2014 saw mobile account for 28 per cent of all impressions.

Mobile search has long been on the watch list for digital marketers. And now it seems that it is really coming into its own as a tool for engaging with users and improving CTRs via paid ads.

Seventy two per cent of ad impressions were attributable to desktop users during this period, while smartphone owners made up 16.9 per cent and tablet users clocked up an 11.1 per cent stake, according to Econsultancy.

Annually, this represents a 35 per cent growth for smartphone PPC ad impressions, while tablets underwent a slightly more modest 21 per cent boost.

Interestingly, this could suggest that the rise of tablets as a platform for web access and e-commerce is not as significant as some had claimed, with smartphones remaining the device of choice for people who are searching and shopping while on the move.

Conversely, the availability of enhanced campaigns within Google’s PPC ecosystem and the need to adjust bidding strategies has meant that tablet marketing is eating up more and more of the digital marketing budget, with spending up by 50 per cent, year on year. Meanwhile, the 26 per cent rise in spending for smartphone-targeted campaigns underlines the differences between these portable platforms.

Experts argue that part of the reason that webmasters are not fully committing to smartphone PPC agency campaigns is that effective mobile optimised sites remain hard to come by and businesses lack the resources to develop a suitable solution to win over visitors. But with modern, responsive e-commerce site design becoming widely available, such discrepancies between the desktop and mobile experience should be less common and problematic.

The cost per click for desktop PPC ads is higher than its mobile equivalents, with tablets coming close to matching it yet again. Smartphone CPCs were still typically lower because of this engagement and optimisation issue, while the PPC market as a whole saw rates fall across the board in Q1 2014, when compared with Q4 2013.

Turning to PPC may be the answer for many sites as the process of achieving an organically high rank on Google’s SERPs continues to be dealt blows as a result of algorithmic changes. Guest blogging seems to be the latest casualty in the SEO industry, so the importance of paid ads may be emphasised in the coming months.

It is equally important for webmasters to think about the process of capturing a target audience?s attention and converting casual visitors into paying customers in the mobile sphere. Optimisation of site design to leverage the benefits of portable platforms, rather than failing to adapt to them and thus compromising the quality of the experience, can be an important part of making PPC campaigns deliver a significant return on the initial investment made at the moment.