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Mobile search is an unavoidable part of digital marketing as if brands don't adapt to consumer behaviour then they risk becoming sidelined if their competitors are faster to react.

Google has already predicted that mobile search will overtake desktop in the next few years, so businesses should really already have a mobile search strategy in place.

But don't just take Google's word for it. Here are 30 compelling mobile search stats to help make up your mind...

Use of mobile search

  • A comScore study found that the total number of US searchers using mobile phones grew 26% between March 2012 and December 2012, from 90.1 million to 113.1 million searchers.
  • Search on tablets was up 19% between April 2012 and December 2012.
  • In comparison, desktop searches were down 6% between November 2011 and November 2012.
  • Analytics firm BIA/Kelsey has predicted that mobile search queries will overtake desktop queries by 2015.

  • Data included in an infographic from Fresh Egg shows that just over half (52%) of UK smartphone owners search daily, 29% search weekly and 10% search monthly. Just 3% of smartphone owners never use mobile search.
  • Furthermore, four out of five people use their smartphone to look up local information.
  • According to a survey included in the Econsultancy Mobile Commerce Compendium, 67% of smartphone owners had used their device to search for information in the previous seven days.

What tasks have you carried out using your smartphone in the past week?

Mobile search ads

  • Analyst firm eMarketer estimates US mobile search ad spending will top $3.5 billion in 2013 and represent 18% of digital search ad spending, up from 11% in 2012.

  • As of February, Google's click-to-call ad formats in mobile search were generating 30 million calls every month.
  • Ads featuring the click-to-call extensions along with location extensions can see a 6%-8% increase for clickthrough rates.

Where people search and why

  • According to Google's Mobile Search Moments Study, 40% of mobile searchs have local intent. Similarly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, while 17% take place on the go.
  • Shopping queries are twice as likely to take place while the user is in-store.
  • Three out of four mobile searches trigger follow-up actions, whether that be further research, a store visit, a phone call, a purchase or word-of-mouth sharing.
  • On average each mobile search triggers almost two follow-up actions.

  • More than half (55%) of conversions from mobile search take place within the hour, while 81% of conversions occur within five hours.
  • Mobile search is more common in the evenings, with 22% of searches taking place between 8pm and midnight.
  • 45% of all mobile searches are goal-oriented and conducted to help make a decision. This rises to 64% when the user is in-store.

UK mobile search budgets

  • Data included in the new Econsultancy/Netbooster UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark 2013 shows that companies are still spending less than 10% of their paid search budget on mobile search (7%), however agencies estimate this proportion to be double that, at 14%.

What proportion of your/your clients’ paid search budget is spent on mobile search?

  • Companies and agencies were also asked to identify whether they thought local search, social search, or mobile search offered the most value. Of those in a position to answer, both companies and agencies placed the highest value on local search, with 44% of agencies and 27% of companies stating this offered the greatest value.

Which do you/your clients value most for your search marketing activity?

Mobile search spend up 132% year-on-year

  • Data published by Covario in July shows that the level of investment in mobile paid search is slowly catching up with consumer behaviour.
  • On a global basis mobile search advertising accounted for 16% of total spend in Q2, of which 10% was spent on tablet and 6% on smartphone.
  • This represents an increase of 39% compared to Q1 2013 and a massive 132% increase year-on-year.
  • CPC prices varied significantly depending on the mobile platform. CPCs on smartphones remained at a 40% discount to desktop CPCs, but have increased nearly every quarter for the last five quarters – with the exception of Q4 2012.

US mobile search behaviours

  • Research by Telmetrics shows that 50% of US mobile searchers use their device at the beginning of the search process, while 31% use their device throughout the process.
  • Also, 60% of mobile consumers expect businesses that show up in search results to be within walking or local driving distance.
  • One in three smartphone users searches specifically for contact information, such as phone numbers, maps and driving directions.
  • While three-quarters (74%) of smartphone-related purchases are competed offline, 54% of tablet-related purchases take place online.
David Moth

Published 14 August, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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