62 Percent of Valentine's Day Searches Were Done on Mobile Devices
Google recently released some interesting data: about 62 percent of all searches on Valentine's Day were done via mobile devices. Google's move to focus on mobile search is paying off, it seems. But, are you cashing in on this opportunity?
Google still has problems determining search intent. That's understandable. You can't expect an algorithm to understand what's inside of your head (not yet, anyway). However, it does know that "Brasa" is a steakhouse it understands that McCormick & Schmick is a restaurant worth dining at (at least, according to the reviews).
Google reported that last-minute searches for flower-related items rose 227 percent during the week leading up to Valentine's Day. Whoops. It looks like there are a lot of last minute hopeless romantics. On "V-Day," consumers were 560 percent more likely to click to make a call than for the week preceding or following the week of "V-day." Mobile clicks to get directions also shot up 514 percent over the same period of time. People were apparently trying to find a nearby florist.
Google's data shows that "click to call" actions peaked at around 8:30AM and then again at lunchtime (PST). Most of the people using the web for all of this were mobile users using their tablets but last-minute searches were done by PCs and smartphones.
What This Means For You
If you're a local business, and you're not optimized for mobile search, shame on you. Mobile search is where it's at, and Google has the numbers to prove it. Do you still think that this surge in mobile searching was just a Valentine's Day fluke? Think again. It happened during the Super Bowl too. Google reported that 41 percent of Super Bowl ads searches were done on mobile devices.
inMobi reports that 39 percent of survey respondents used a mobile device in response to a T.V. commercial during the game. That's incredible, but it makes sense. It means that people really do sit in front of the T.V. with their smartphones in-hand. According to Google: "Super Bowl ad related searches in the US rose 200% on desktop, 970% on tablets and a whopping 2700% on smartphones."
If you're advertising on T.V., then you should also be concerned with how you look on a mobile device. Not only do people watch T.V. with their smartphone nearby, but they also apparently make last-minute decisions using their smartphone.
Finally, there's some pretty convincing data that suggests that about 22 percent of search revenue will come from mobile search in 2012. This, from Efficient Frontier and Macquarie Capital. That's a lot of money flowing into big "G"s pockets. The search giant controls something like 95 percent of all mobile search in North America.
The data is still fuzzy on the ROI for advertisers using mobile search ads though. Since people searching on a mobile device might just stop in to a store, rather than purchase through their mobile device, traditional conversion metrics will be skewed.
Should you increase your mobile search presence? If you have a local business, then yes definitely. It's pretty clear that users prefer to use mobile search when they are out and about (what else would they use?). Of course, if you're focusing on SEO for mobile, don't forget to optimize your website for mobile users too. Your regular site probably won't cut it. Users can't have the same experience on their mobile devices that they can have on their PCs at home.
This means that you should design your website so that the most important features are prominent. For example, if you are a florist, perhaps your mobile site would offer a couple of buttons allowing users to search for flowers and buy flowers as well as a one-click-to-call the store during normal business hours. That would be really handy for a mobile user.
Bars could list drink specials, pizza places could have a click-to-call option for ordering along with hours of operation and delivery charges or special deals for calling in via mobile devices. Whatever you decide for the mobile version of your site, keep it simple. When people find you on their mobile devices, the last thing you want them to do is get frustrated and leave because your mobile site is hard to navigate.