Search Marketing's Influence On Mobile Commerce

Hands-Money-ACan't help it, but I keep coming back to this multibillion mobile commerce number published earlier this week by Needham & Co., and the influence from search engine marketing. The research, led by Laura Martin, puts U.S. mobile commerce spending at $36 billion by 2015. Global revenue from mobile advertising and content should reach $67 billion this year.

The report indirectly points to the role of search on mobile to increase advertising and commerce -- but indicates that mobile marketing, which the analysts define as what happens after the click, also contributes. For example, mobile search and display ads primarily drive mobile advertising. eMarketer estimates that display will reach $2.5 billion in 2012, up from $1.2 billion in 2011. Needham analysts expect targeting, interactive and social to improve during the next few years, and it's not difficult to see how SEM -- both organic and paid search -- will lead to the uptick for advertising and marketing.

Search capabilities designed by Google and Microsoft have been improved to support location-specific results featuring voice recognition and speech-to-text capabilities. Some 67% of U.S. smartphone owners in September 2011 compared products and prices, searched for deals, took product photos, or located a retail store, according to comScore.

Mobile users know what they want to find even before pulling out their phone from a pocket or purse. Not sure about you, but I don't typically browse for information on my iPhone, but rather search with a mission for information about a specific topic. Needham analysts believe "mobile is more about the destination than discovery." And because the amount of content makes discovery difficult, we're starting to see more that pushes content and connects consumers to it through geolocation technologies.

Search on mobile demonstrates immediate intent -- the need to find a restaurant or gas station at any given moment. And because mobile is a personal device, recommendations and ads target the individual. If it's not done today, keywords in text messages, searches, photo tags, and area codes will all play a role in ad targeting and marketing, as well as the ability to push content and recommendations that will lead consumers to make more purchases on mobile devices.

One thing's for sure -- mobile Web sites will need to improve before commerce gets to that two-digit billion-dollar number.

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