Mobile Matters: 15 Mobile Search Stats That Ring True

As the iPhone 4S announcement crashed popular websites and we learned that Google’s mobile revenue is now on a $2.5 billion annual run rate, one thing became clear these past few weeks: mobile is H-O-T. So what does this mean for search geeks around the world? Quite a L-O-T.

Here are 15 mobile search stats worth phoning home about:

By 2012, there will be 5 billion mobile devices in use, the equivalent of 70% of the world’s population.

Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that 70% of the world’s population will own a mobile device -- but it’s still a staggering number. And it’s a number that’s higher than desktop computers.

Penetration of smartphones stands at more than 40% in Western Europe and 38% in the U.S.



More smartphones = more searches. It’s much easier to type and navigate the Web on a smartphone than a standard phone. As more people upgrade their devices, we’ll see more mobile search activity.

Mobile makes up about 20% of searches globally for Yahoo.

That’s 528 million mobile searches per month (based on comScore query volume) through Yahoo sites; more than all searches of any type on Ask each month.

15% of all Google queries are mobile.

And you can be sure that Google will continue building Android to reinforce mobile search habits.

Nearly 30% of all mobile search queries are with local intent, compared to just 16% for the PC.

The implications for companies with physical locations are clear. Don’t try and steer people to your website from mobile search. Get them to your front door.

Mobile phones are used by nearly one of every five shoppers.

Why does SEM work so well from an ROI standpoint? As discussed in my last column, it’s because search ads reach people in a different mindset than display ads. When people search, they’re often in buy mode. And that goes double for mobile search.

Of holiday smartphone shoppers, 80% used their phones to shop/research while in a store.

Case in point.

49% of mobile searchers made a mobile purchase in the past six months.

People do buy from their phones too, though.

U.S mobile ad spending to top $1 billion for first time in 2011.

Where purchases happen, ad dollars follow. 2011 was officially (and finally!) the year of mobile in the U.S.

43% of mobile Internet usage happening in home.

Mobile isn’t just an on-the-go phenomenon. If my family is any indication, people are too lazy to pull out their laptops or walk over to their desktops at home, especially when it’s just to do a quick search.

86% of mobile Internet users surf the mobile Web while watching TV.

And then there’s the A.D.D. factor.

39% of people use the Internet on their smartphones while using the bathroom.


43% would give up beer if they would otherwise have to give up their smartphones.

Well, that might cut down on bathroom usage!

48% of mobile ad clicks are accidental.

Speaking of waste… not sure if this is fat-finger syndrome or another alcohol-related issue.

In Japan, the average consumer has 45 mobile apps installed on his phone, compared to 23 for the U.S. and U.K.

Behold the biggest threat to mobile search -- apps. As discussed in chapter 21 of my book, the future of search is app-sisstants (a term coined by fellow Search Insider Gord Hotchkiss). It’s much easier to interact with content through an app than through Web pages. And it’s much easier to complete a task through instructions than search queries. Ain’t that right, Siri? After all, as  a wise man once observed, “Search is not happening on phones; people are using apps. And this is where the opportunity is to deliver advertising." Now, Mr. Jobs may have been a bit early on this one -- but I certainly wouldn’t call him wrong.

Be sure to hit up OMMA Mobile next week to stay dialed in.


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