Another day, another search marketing study. Once again we are reminded by data that search continues to shift away from the desktop and more towards mobile devices.
The latest conclusions come from the Neustar Localeze/15miles/comScore Local Search Study, which involved a sample of more than 3,000 U.S. adults who say they use the Internet to search for local businesses. The study found that the total number of Americans using mobile phones to search grew 26% between March 2012 and December 2012, from 90.1 million to 113.1 searchers. Search on tablets was also up 19% between April 2012 and December 2012. The only type of search that decreased was the ones on desktops, which were down 6% between November 2011 and November 2012.
This rise of search on tablets and mobile phones, as well as the decrease of desktops, reminds marketers that we need to be doing what it takes to keep up with consumers or we’ll be left behind. Consumers all around the globe are relying more and more on their smartphones and tablets to search, compare and make purchases. If they reach your site and have a bad experience for whatever reason, they will go elsewhere and you will quickly be forgotten.
A smartphone optimized site is not the same as a tablet optimized site. It’s important for marketers to keep in mind that consumers use their various mobile devices differently, and they need to understand how. The Neustar Localeze/15miles/comScore study found that mobile phone users are more likely to use their devices to search for maps, driving directions and distance, whereas searchers using tablets are more content-focused.
Overall, smartphone users are more likely to turn to their phones to stream music, check (quicker) things like bank statements, social media sites and email, and to take advantage of the maps and GPS. To do this, they prefer to use mobile apps rather than mobile websites, according to a different study by Keynote. However, mobile websites are preferred for searches that involve obtaining information about news, food, entertainment and travel and for shopping. If your site is optimized for smartphones, keep in mind that 64% of smartphone users in the Keynote study said that they expect a site to load in less than four seconds- their biggest mobile frustration is pages that load too slowly.
Tablet users are more likely to use their device to read news and entertainment, search for information, watch videos and shop. When it comes to making purchases, tablet users use their device to do everything from finding consumer reviews, searching for deals and comparing prices to making the actual purchase. The Keynote study found that tablet users were mostly indifferent about choosing a mobile app or mobile website for their various activities, but that 60% wanted a sub-three second download. They too get frustrated when they have to wait too long for a web page to load.
Can you relate to what you just read? Think about it this way: why do you choose to use your tablet instead of your phone if you have both in front of you? Chances are you prefer to do some types of searches on your tablet, while others could be done from your phone. This applies to other smartphone and tablet users too, and it’s so important to keep up with what consumers want.