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How Searches on Smartphones Fit in the Purchase Funnel

On-the-go usage means searchers are likely to take action

As smartphones become the norm and mobile internet access a part of everyday life, mobile habits are changing and online activities are growing more popular. Search, one of the top online activities overall, is becoming more important on mobile for both users and advertisers. eMarketer estimates that mobile search ad spending will make up 27% of the US mobile ad market this year, rising to 34% by 2014.

Mobile search could prove very valuable for businesses due to the on-the-go nature of so much usage. While a search on the desktop web might indicate the very early stages of the purchase funnel, those searching via mobile are likely out and about and looking for immediately useful information—likely for a purchase, or at least a store visit.

According to research from Google and Ipsos OTX MediaCT, smartphone users performing a search are more likely to be in the later stages of the purchase funnel, continuing their research or even visiting a business, than they are to be in the early consideration phase. The most common single action after a smartphone search was to visit a store in person, done by 55% of respondents.

Overall, more than half of smartphone users made a purchase after their mobile search, whether in a store, online or via their phone.

Smartphone users searching for information on local businesses or services were also highly likely to take action. A majority of searchers visited the business’ website, got directions, or called or visited the business.

Traditional media were the biggest motivation for beginning a search on a smartphone, followed by word-of-mouth. More than one in four respondents conducted a mobile search after seeing a mobile ad, almost evenly split between search ads and display ads.

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Check out today’s other article, “The Digital World of Millennials.”

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