Due to the popularization of mobile technologies and the increasing availability and affordability of mobile internet, website developers, marketers and company owners are faced with the challenge of adapting media content from desktop computers to mobile devices. The task is not only how to present information on a different medium, but also what kind of information to offer, as many users change their browsing behavior from one device to another. In this backdrop, mobile search rises as a promising field. In the first quarter of 2017, mobile devices accounted for over half of all organic search engine visits in the United States, up from 34 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2016. In the United States, smartphone users already spent a large of their time on search, portals and social apps. Moreover, the number of mobile search users is expected to increase to 221 million users by 2021.
Users’ ability to quickly obtain relevant results based on their location is one of the most attractive features of mobile search. For instance, just over 71 percent of cell owners in the U.S. have used location-based services. Some of the most popular location-based content categories searched for using mobile devices in the United States are local content, maps, mobile coupons for local shopping, weather information and personal ads — those on the location-based dating app Tinder, for example — and job searches. Mobile search is particularly relevant for local businesses, as consumers use their mobile website for information, such as list of products and opening hours of the local business. Price list and phone number are also important features to include on their mobile website according to consumers.
With the increasing prevalence of online shopping and multi-channel retailers, consumers often turn to their mobile devices to search for product information. A large share of online shoppers chooses to search and buy products online — about 42 percent as of 2016. About 56 percent of mobile shopping researchers do their research at home, and 28 percent do their product research out and about. Online shoppers in the United States also use their mobile devices to track delivery of an order, access a retailer’s app, as well as comparing prices among retailers and searching for a retail coupon.
Although desktop accounted for a large share of search advertising spending, mobile devices are quickly gaining space in this market. In the United States, mobile search advertising expenditure was projected to pass desktop ad spend in 2015 already, and grow aggressively in the coming years. In 2016, about 62 percent of paid Google search clicks originated from mobile, with mobile phones accounting for nearly 52 percent of total clicks. For Yahoo Gemini, this share stood at 38 percent during the same time period, while mobile devices were the source of 23 percent of all paid Bing search clicks.
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