Blog Post

Weekly HubFeed: Mobile Search Trends 2016


Welcome to the Weekly HubFeed, where we unpack this week's digital marketing news. Today we're gonna be covering the latest trends in mobile search. I am Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Also available on YouTube.

Hey, good morning, Chad. This week we're looking at a recent Hitwise study that was done by this company, a study of U.S. consumer mobile and desktop search behavior. So diving into mobile, this hot topic, we're a seeing a lot of growth over the years. And in this study, in particular, showing that almost 60% of U.S. searches are made from a mobile device. Additionally, the other big headline here is 56% of retail searches are via mobile. So this study by Hitwise is called the Mobile Search: Topics and Themes. It is a report that looked at hundreds of millions of searches. It's a very robust sample size across 11 different industry categories.

They were taking a look at desktop, tablets, and smart phones over a time period of April to May of this year. So some of the notable findings, Chad, here are which industries had the most mobile search. Food and beverage was up there at the top, with 72% of searches being on mobile. Health was also extremely high, with 68% of searches done on a mobile device. And sports also came in very high at 68%. The big category for our mobile consumers, you know, whether it's them in kitchen or they're out and about and just checking things, 82% of kitchen tip searches were conducted via mobile, 80% of food safety searches were conducted via mobile device, which I think we can all identify.

You're standing at the barbecue and, "How hot do I have to get this pork so it's healthy to eat?" You're probably searching on your phone. Searches looking for things, such as hours of use in restaurants, are heavily done via mobile. Interestingly on the other end of the spectrum, the industry with the lowest mobile search volume, meaning these are the most searches done actually on desktop, not on a mobile device, was banking, with 39% of searches being done via mobile.

Yeah, Adam. That certainly is interesting information. And actually the survey went on and talked a little bit about some of the differences between what people are doing on mobile versus desktop. A couple of things popped up here. One was that searches for specific brands across industries tended to be done more on desktop. So when you're looking for a company, they were using desktop. Location-based searches were almost done exclusively on mobile devices. Mobile searches more often are structured as a question than on a desktop.

So, for example, the mobile searches tended to start with things like how and where and is. Immediate need questions are more common on mobile. So you mentioned, I'm at the barbecue and searching for meat temperatures. Things like breaking news, medical symptoms, product recalls, all of that's done typically more on mobile than desktop. And additionally, they looked at how people are intermixing mobile and desktop as they move through decision cycle.

So, for example, it showed that in really big purchases or trip planning, consumers tend to start their inquiries on mobile devices, but actually complete or finalize those transactions on desktop. And then for local businesses, about 82% of searches about business hours and reviews tended to be on mobile, and 77% of searches for coupons and return policies were also on mobile. So what does this really mean for small business? Well, it means a couple of things. One, of course, being on mobile is no longer an option, we've said that many times. It's critical and you must be there to make sure your website is responsive.

Number two is that your customers and potential customers are looking for you on mobile and you really need to understand your customer's behavior. We gave you a lot of different industries and examples of how mobile usage changes. These are things you can get from Google Analytics. Look at your website and see, are you a more heavily skewed mobile category or desktop? And you can adjust your website accordingly. Thank you very much for joining us today. We look forward to seeing you on the next Weekly HubFeed. Feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Thank you very much.