Ad Smart: Mobile Searches Rise During Holidays

by , Sep 6, 2011, 5:02 PM
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Google predicts consumers will conduct 15% of Black Friday Web searches on mobile devices this year. The research suggests that 65% of consumers will use their mobile device to look for a business to make in-store purchases.

The findings also project that 44% of total searches for last-minute gifts and store locator terms will come from mobile devices this holiday season, given data based on historical growth rates.

During the past two holiday seasons, Google data points to a "double peak" in search volume for retail brands around Black Friday and then the week before Christmas, as mobile users locate stores for last-minute shopping.

Google suggests that retailers should plan for consumers to use tablets this holiday season. Survey results also find that about 34% of both smartphone users and tablet users plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving, according to the AdMob survey. That's followed by 35% the day after Thanksgiving, and 31% after the Thanksgiving weekend.

Forty-five percent of tablet users said they will start shopping before Thanksgiving, 17% the day after Thanksgiving, and 31% after the Thanksgiving weekend.

"Mobile devices -- smartphones in particular -- have emerged as useful tools to connect people on-the-go with the places they're going," said Michael Slinger, director of mobile ads at Google. "We've found that about a third of mobile searches have local intent, meaning that people look for places and things near them because they want to take an action such as buy something, eat something, or go somewhere."

For advertisers, Google serves up this opportunity in several mobile ad formats -- hyperlocal, mobile search, and click-to-call -- all designed to help better connect customers with stores.

Searches on mobile continue to increase, but Forrester Research expects mobile commerce to generate "minuscule" sales. Although retailers can only expect consumers to transact 2% of online Web sales through mobile devices in 2011, advertisers can still tap mobile to reach out prior to the sale.

The research firm estimates mobile commerce sales to grow 40% each year for the next five years, excluding mobile shopping through tablets.

Advertisers and publishers should bear in mind that Google has decided to end AdMob's mobile Web-serving service to focus on mobile application development, Clay Bavor, Google product management director for mobile ads, wrote in a blog post. Those participating in the AdSense for Mobile Applications beta have been switched to AdMob. Support for mobile Web ads on WAP sites will end Sept. 30.

While AdMob -- which Google plunked down $750 million to acquire -- will support ad developers, the mobile Web publisher will move to AdSense to monetize content. AdWords will help advertisers reach hundreds of millions of consumers across the Google Display Network.

Support for international campaigns could remain the biggest obstacle. Not all countries that supported AdMob support AdSense. For example, Sergio da Silva explains in a blog post comment that Google does not support AdSense for mobile in Luxembourg, but AdMob did. Mobile WAP ads and AdSense services are available to advertisers in about 42 countries, such as Argentina, Colombia, Indonesia, Ireland, Norway and Turkey.

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