Google and Nielsen recently teamed to understand when and why people turn to mobile search, and the actions they take as a result.
For its "Mobile Search Moments" report, Google and Nielsen asked 426 consumers to log their mobile searches over two weeks in a diary smartphone app, followed up each mobile search with an email asking for the results of that search, and then conducted an exit survey at the end of the study.
77% of Mobile Searches Were Conducted From Home or Work
Mobile devices may be replacing desktops as the preferred search tool: 77 percent of mobile searches taking place during the study period took place at home or at work. Respondents seemed to find it easier to pick up the phone for a search than to sit down at a desktop or even fire up a tablet.
Nevertheless, 59 percent of mobile searches occurred after 3 p.m., with 22 percent taking place from 8 p.m. to midnight, when people are more likely to be at home or on the go.
55% of Mobile Search Conversions Happen Within 1 Hour
Consumers were more likely to notice ads when in a store - and they found them useful. At the same time, searchers were 55 percent more likely to notice ads while in a store and to find them useful. Anecdotally, people in the study noticed that ads loaded faster than search results and provided relevant information.
Although the context for mobile searches was not usually when people were out shopping or looking for businesses, three out of four mobile searches did trigger additional actions:
- Additional research (36 percent).
- A website visit (25 percent).
- A store visit (17 percent).
- A purchase (17 percent).
- A phone call (7 percent).
Marketers have limited time to capitalize on mobile searches, according to Google and Nielsen, with 55 percent of conversions happening within one hour and 63 percent of all follow-up actions, including conducting more research or sharing information from a search.
The next window of opportunity for marketers is within five hours, the study found. Within that period, 81 percent of conversions and 84 percent of all follow-up actions take place.
Forty-five percent of mobile searches were conducted to help make a decision, and that proportion rose to two-thirds when people were in a store. Not surprisingly, shopping searches were twice as likely to be done in-store, according to Google and Nielsen.
B2B Mobile Search Grows 143%
Meanwhile, mobile searches are rising in the B2B sector, according to a separate study from BizBuySell.com, an online business-for-sale marketplace. Prospective buyers are increasingly browsing for-sale opportunities via mobile devices, the report found.
Unique mobile visits to the site increased 143 percent year-over-year, now accounting for 28 percent of total unique visitors. While tablet traffic grew 155 percent in that time period, smartphone traffic still accounts for more than half of all mobile unique visitors.