Why Decreased Smartphone Shipments Predictions Are Great for PPC

The latest smartphone forecast from IDC caused a widespread outcry at blogs and news websites from all over the world: the global smartphone shipments predictions flats for the first time.


  • Global smartphone shipments dropped the first time
  • Overall shipment value will still rise
  • The target group has never been bigger before.


Mobile is one of the most important advertising channels. Retailers and marketers put a lot of effort in optimizing shops and PPC-campaigns for mobile devices. Does the drop in smartphone shipments influence your longtime PPC-strategy?


The Facts

Before analyzing the Influence on the PPC-market, I’ll give you some background information.
The Research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) just published their quarterly predictions and here are the hard facts: The smartphone shipments will still grow until 2020 but there will be a significant slowdown from 10.5% in 2015 to predicted 3.1% in 2016.




The overall shipment volume will (of course) still rise constantly from 1,436.50 million in 2015 to 1,839.70 million in 2020. Only the predicted  growth will be lower than in the past studies!




Especially at markets like the US, Western Europe and China smartphone vendors will recognize a slowdown in sales.


smartphone market share


The IDC explains the slowdown in these markets with a change in the way consumers get their devices:


“Consumers everywhere are getting savvy about how and where they buy their smartphones, and this is opening up new doors for OEMs and causing some traditional channels to lose some control of the hardware flow […]. Smartphones sold into eTailer channels grew 65% in 2015 and are expected to account for roughly 12% of smartphone shipments in 2016, up from just 4% in 2013. Consumers are having more say over which brands they want and at the same time able to bargain shop.”


IDC just proofs what every PPC-marketer already knows: We are still in a shift from offline to online and E-Commerce is still growing.


Now let’s build the bridge between these facts and PPC: Jerry Dischler (Vice President of Product Management from AdWords) said that there are now trillions of search queries on Google.com and over half of those searches happen on smartphones!


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Why PPC marketers should celebrate

Although the growth of smartphones dropped, there is not any danger for your long-term PPC strategy. Even if there is a stagnation of smartphone sales, there is only one conclusion: now is the best time to focus on mobile devices and advertising channels which are optimized for smartphones. It’s no secret that especially Google Shopping is such a channel. At the last Google Performance Summit most of the published features had the focus on a better mobile experience.

From the economical perspective the argumentation makes total sense: If there is a certain market saturation, you can be sure there will be a huge target group for your ads. A saturation of the smartphone market is the best thing what can happen to PPC-marketers who focused on mobile ads. Now there’s no excuse why you should leave mobile behind.


smartphone shipments meme


How to optimize your ad performance on mobile

Recently Reinhard Einwagner wrote a detailed post about Mobile Bid Modifiers in Google Shopping and how to avoid common mistakes. When it comes to mobile bid modifiers, you should not rely on the suggestions of Google. No question, it might work well. But it also can lower your ROAS dramatically. There are a few things you really should consider, but the core messages are:


  • Check your goals: do my goals fit to my business model?
  • Don’t forget cross-device-conversions: Use the Google Analytics’ Cross-Device-Reporting or the built-in Cross-Device-Conversion-Measurement of Google Adwords.
  • Always check your mobile conversion data for outliers (which applies for every other bid modifier you can set with Adwords) and re-evaluate the prediction of future conversion rates and/or values per click.

Click her to read the full post about Mobile Bid Modifiers.


BTW: Our Google Shopping tool Whoop! supports Mobile Bid Modifiers and you can activate them just with a single click.



Mobile is still on the rise. Not as fast than before but the shipment volume is still growing. We are getting closer to a market saturation, which is a great advantage for PPC marketers. Your target group has never been bigger before. But don’t make the mistake and waste your budget on mobile bid adjustments without thinking about it.

What do you think about this? Leave a comment below!