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Mobile search will reach a “tipping point” in the next few years as it overtakes desktop search, according to Google’s head of mobile and social, EMEA, Ian Carrington.

Speaking at Carat’s Redefining Mobile event in London today Carrington (pictured) said tablet and smartphone growth continues to surge, doubling every two years.

In 2010 there were 5bn downloads across the Android platform, rising to 30bn in 2012, while a quarter (25%) of YouTube traffic now comes via mobile devices, according to Carrington.

“Entertainment queries on mobile have also more than doubled from 7% in 2010 to 25% this year, whether people are searching for restuarants or films. Travel is similar – queries rose from 4% to 24% in two years. We will see a tipping point in the next few years when we see more queries coming via mobile than desktop,” he said.

Meanwhile over a third (31%) of mobile users have purchased via such a device, he said. “Retailers can really drive this, but currently there remain very few UK market examples of where mobile has really been used to its full potential,” he said.

He cited Debenhmans as a retailer that has seen some significant sales uplifts following its mobile site development, seeing conversion rates double after building its first mobile site, he said.

However, Carrington believes there remains a “disconnect” between how much is invested in mobile by advertisers compared to consumer consumption. “If you don’t have a mobile strategy within the next six months it will be too late,” he added.

Consumers are increasinlgy price-checking via their mobile devices while in-store, with 17% then changing their mind about making a purchase while in-store.

Local-based searches also continue to grow on mobile devices, with 40% of all queries on Android having local intent, according to Carrington. Meanwhile half of people using Google maps do so via mobile devices. “There’s a real opportunity here for retailers, that they are not fully embracing. But consumers are,” he said.

Social search is a core area to Google’s strategy, which Google+ at the heart tying together all its other products including YouTube, according to Carrington. “We are just at the start of where we want to go with social. For example, currently we don’t take social signals into account on Google search, but we want to…Google+ is a destination where you can post updates and information but it is different from other social networks – it is actually the backbone and DNA of all other Google products,” he added.


Published 26 November, 2012 by NMA Staff

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