It didn't take long for mobile devices to trigger a massive shift in one of the Internet's foundational activities. Mobile search has quickly become a massive source of digital ad dollars in recent years, and new projections from eMarketer expect the total revenues from paid advertising on mobile search to surpass $28 billion by 2018.
That dollar amount will account for more than 85 percent of all digital ad spending. According to the study, the main reason for this shift is the increased role of mobile devices in daily life. Consumers are conducting more of their online activity through mobile devices. Because web browsers play a reduced role on smartphones and tablets, consumers on-the-go are turning to browser searches less and relying more often on app-based search queries.
In other words, mobile search behavior has separated itself from searches conducted on more traditional computers.
Tracking Where Mobile Users Turn First
The big difference between mobile and desktop search comes down to the initial action consumers take. On a traditional computer, users conducting an online search typically turn to their favorite search engine's website. The search is conducted through that engine, and results are produced.
Mobile consumers, however, don't operate the same way. While a web browser may be the solution they turn to, many mobile apps now offer their own search tools. Thanks to continued development of mobile app technology, those search engines are becoming more specialized. Consumers who are looking for content within a certain niche already covered by a mobile app may choose to conduct their search through that app. The mobile app is already optimized to display the types of content they are looking for.
Search Becoming More Specialized
Online search, Ad Age notes, is becoming more specialized. As these app-based search tools become more sophisticated, consumers may continue to prefer them over one-size-fits-all online search solutions.
This trend is even more likely to continue based on how consumers already use their smartphones and tablets. According to analysis by Flurry reported at Ad Age, the average consumer spends 86 percent of their mobile time in an app. Traditional desktop users typically access the Internet through a web browser, which makes browser searches the most logical solution. When mobile users are already active within an app, they're more likely to utilize that app's search tools, especially because their search query most likely relates to their current mobile activity.
Marketers need to be mindful of this change and adapt their search ad spending to account for these changing trends. As consumers take a more specialized route to conducting mobile searches, marketers will need to build more customized paid search campaigns to meet these needs.