Should Search Marketers Spend More Time Optimizing for Apps or Mobile Web?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a study this week titled “Apps and Mobile Web: Understanding the Two Sides of the Mobile Coin.” The research dove into how mobile users are searching for accessing content and what that means for marketers.

According to the study, Internet use on mobile can be divided into two categories: the use of apps and browsing the mobile Web. The increase in the number of apps offered has often overshadowed the importance of the mobile Web, causing some confusion as to which means of access is predominately used.

The Search and Social Connection

According to the study, the most common way mobile Internet users find websites is from search and shared links from applications (predominately social media).

On the flip-side, the majority of respondents share mobile sites they like through word of mouth, email, and social media. But thankfully for search marketers, as you can see in the chart below, the vast majority of users surveyed still use search engines to find what they are looking for.

mobile-internet-search

The App Gap

Here’s where the data gets interesting. A recent comScore report found that “88 percent of consumer mobile Internet time is spent in apps, while 12 percent is spent browsing the mobile Web.” However, only 18 percent say that they their usage is geared heavily toward apps. Below is a graph that shows where mobile Internet users believe they are spending the majority of their time:

mobile-time-spent

When asked about ease of use between apps and mobile Web, the responses were split. Nearly an equal amount cited “convenience” and “ease of use” for both apps and the mobile Web. 

This IAB study did find, however, that Internet users prefer mobile Web for search, while preferences for shopping, news, and directories are split between both apps and mobile web.

iab-mobile-preferences

A Combined Approach Helps Reach More Consumers

Based on the findings of this study it’s clear that if search marketers want to reach more consumers, it’s important to consider BOTH app and mobile Internet usage in their strategy. Are you surprised with the results of the study or do you think the even split is to be expected?

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