Shelter-in-place mandates in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak have given desktop searches a jump, especially during the past two weeks.
“For Google search, ad click share on desktop is running about four points higher than two weeks ago, with desktop now accounting for 33% of all clicks,” said Mark Ballard, VP of research at Merkle. “Phones are still producing 64% of Google clicks, but that is down about four points from two weeks ago.”
On Friday, Ballard confirmed seeing a shift in traffic share to desktop, beginning primarily in the last week.
Microsoft also confirmed seeing higher searches on desktop. "We are seeing increased volume growth on PC, along with a higher distribution of news queries, as people are spending more time at home and on their computers," according to a spokesperson.
It seems the trend has led to an increase in content consumption on desktops, according to data released today from Nativo, a native advertising platform.
Nativo’s report identified an overall shift to digital as a source of information, research, productivity, and entertainment, with consumption on desktop spiking higher than on mobile, providing in-depth information delivered on a larger screen.
The mindset of consumers changed around March 11, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic, according to Nativo.
Searchers are seeking content about science, news, business, family and parenting, health and fitness, and entertainment. Information on family and parents rose 167%, for example.
When Trump ordered tighter screening for inbound international travelers on March 1, there was a 50% increase in Italy cases and 30% in France. Content consumption on desktop rose 10% vs mobile at 9%.
Mobile continues to jump with desktop consumption, but not as high.
On March 15 -- when U.S. COVID-19 cases reached 3,000 and the Centers for Disease Control called for a cancellation of all events of 50 people or more and the Federal Reserve slashed rates to zero -- content consumption on desktop rose 76% vs mobile at 61%.
Most content categories have seen an increase in consumption on desktop compared to mobile. For family and parenting consumption on desktop indexed at 267 versus 133 on publisher sites between March 9 and March 16. Science indexed at 243 on desktop versus 146 on mobile, and business indexed at 140 on desktop versus. 138 on mobile. Travel, news, and health and fitness indexed higher on mobile compared with desktop.