By Marc Purtell | Director, SEO
The growing use of mobile devices is nothing new or surprising, but what may be a bit of a surprise is the extent to which search behavior is moving away from desktop devices. Currently, one out of every three minutes spent online is on a mobile device.
What also may come as a surprise is how quickly mobile search volume is expected to surpass desktop. By 2015, mobile search volume is expected to slightly exceed desktop and by 2016 it will be approximately 30% higher. The clock is ticking for digital marketers who have not begun to plan their activity for this new landscape.
Marketers are already recognizing this tremendous shift in behavior and adjusting their spend accordingly. In 2012, mobile search ad spending hit an all-time high of $1.99 billion. More importantly, although the 2012 spend was much higher than ever before, it is projected to grow another 80% in 2013 topping $3.59 billion according to eMarketer.
Despite the shift in spend now being allocated to mobile advertising, there is still opportunity given that only 58% of advertisers are utilizing mobile paid search compared to the 78% of advertisers who use paid search in total.
Taking Advantage of the Shift
There is still time to get a head start above a large segment of competition in mobile search, but budgets must be shifted accordingly. Ensuring Web properties are mobile-friendly is the first step in maximizing a mobile search presence. Understanding the behavior of mobile visitors to your web properties can greatly assist in that optimization. It’s also important to understand the difference in behavior on mobile versus desktop devices when consumers are using search engines. Once important web properties are fully optimized for mobile experience focus can move toward implementing marketing campaigns.
Understanding User Behavior on Your Web Properties
Optimizing for user experience on mobile devices can be a very large task and seem quite overwhelming. It can be simplified, however, by starting with the areas of highest impact to generating business via mobile. Most web analytics platforms will allow you to segment traffic from mobile devices. This will allow you to see specifically where mobile users are landing on your site and what they are doing when they get there, as opposed to desktop users. For example, this can be done in Google Analytics using Advanced Segments.
Once mobile traffic is segmented looking at the top landing pages will give a good idea on which pages should be optimized first.
Understanding User Behavior on Search Engines
Consumers do not search the same way on mobile devices as they do on desktops. Search queries on mobile devices are typically shorter, containing fewer characters, and more dependent on Autocomplete suggestions. Therefore, when determining what keyword phrases to perform mobile searches around, focus on the theme of the page to see what Autocomplete suggestions are most common.
It is also possible to segment search volume of specific keywords on mobile devices using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This will allow you to focus mobile-targeted pages on keywords consumers search for more predominantly on mobile devices. This is done using Advanced Options and Filters.
It is no secret that the web is shifting more towards mobile, and the shift in search behavior is clear evidence of that. Now is the time to invest in optimizing mobile web properties and put forth more aggressive mobile marketing campaigns. There is still time to get in ahead of the curve.
Are you shifting some of your budget towards mobile marketing? If so, has it helped your business grow?