By the end of this year the mobile search market will be worth $3.8bn, according to a new report by Forrester Research. Meanwhile, wireless payment services provider Apriva has revealed over 300% growth in the use of its services within the US over the past year, hinting at a market that is increasingly shifting from desktop/laptop to multi-platform to mobile-only use for both search and purchase.
The report also predicts that smartphones will further dominate the market, saying that 72% of mobile users will have smartphones by the start of next year. As the most recent survey data on smartphones showed that 64% of people have them currently, this may be an ambitious estimate; however, this depends on what people get for Christmas.
The survey data on which the report is based suggests that 89% of adults use a mobile phone search facility at least weekly, which is 8% less than the number searching from desktop computers. Other data, however, shows that search apps are less popular than games – with Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds still dominating – and that the main thing most people use their mobiles for is social media. This suggests that, if mobile search is worth $3.8bn, there is a much bigger and more lucrative market available in social media marketing conversions.
At present this is probably underused, as many businesses have yet to adapt their social media strategies to work well for mobile by simplifying options and accounting for smaller screen sizes, while uptake of the likes of Facebook’s own adaptations for mobile has been slow.
Overall, these results emphasize the importance for marketers of connecting fully with mobile marketing. It is well know that the use of search results on mobile differs, with only the top three ranked sites for any given keyword having a real chance of attracting custom; however, research still needs to be done on whether – and if so, how – people adjust their search queries for mobile to bring up more accessible results. It would seem likely that users who are less willing to browse through a lot of results may be more likely to use complex search terms in order to get exactly what they want straight away. The biggest thing mobile users complain about – beyond sites not being available to them at all – is things being too difficult; therefore, businesses that make things easy for them can potentially cash in on a great deal of revenue.