Research Shows Search Is Consumers’ First Choice as Mobile Shopping Tool

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At MyAdvice, we’ve always loved search. Maybe it’s the whole needle in the haystack concept that is search. Beyond building great websites, we’ve always been insanely focused on methods to get our clients to the top of those searches for those websites. We’ve been masters of organic search, plus now, as Google has limited organic results somewhat in favor of paid results, we’re just as adept with paid search.

Some people think search is so passé. Now people use social media to make their shopping and service decisions, right? And since they’re checking their social media accounts all the time on their phones, this has to be even truer on mobile devices, right?

Not so fast, says Google. The company released results from a May 2016 survey that show search is still the king by a mile…on mobile.

You could say this is self-serving of Google, which has made a concerted effort to pivot toward mobile search over the past few years. From eliminating the old right hand column of paid results to pushing paid results to the top of SERPs, changes have been made emphasizing mobile search. But results are results and this survey shows that search is the most used mobile resource people turn to first for solving their needs.

The survey

In May of this year, Google polled 1,000 smartphone users several times throughout the day over the course of a week in the quest to understand their mobile shopping behavior. Google said it collected 14,000 responses overall in the survey.

In moments of need, people turn to their phones and search

Google wanted to see what people did when a need or a question came up. Almost universally (96%), people picked up their smartphones. And what do they do with them? Open Google or their default search engine. The survey found that 87% of people turn to search as their first step. This was 16% higher than visiting a retailer website or app, 20% higher than visiting a non-retailer website or app, almost 40% higher than actually visiting the store or some other location, and nearly 60% higher than using social media.

This disputes the current thought that people are using social media sources like Facebook or Pinterest to make their buying decisions. These results show that search is still king.

Mobile searchers become in-store buyers

The survey also found that 70% of in-store buyers used their smartphones for research before making the purchase. And when people search on their mobile devices, it leads to action — 92% of those in the survey who searched on their phone made a related purchase following from that search.

This may not hold true for service businesses such as the practices of our MyAdvice clients, but it surely is a first step down the path toward a future decision.

And it’s not just now; mobile search goes beyond immediate needs

While most of us think of using our phones for instant things such as directions to a new golf course, finding a simple recipe for dinner, or even to settle an argument about Teddy Roosevelt’s middle name (he didn’t have one!), Google’s survey found we also use them to make progress on long-term projects. In the survey findings it said, “68% of people used search to help with things they want to address at some point in the future, the highest of any other online or offline source.”

What does this mean for your practice?

Despite all of the available options both online and offline to help people meet their needs, this survey shows that people tend to almost universally start with their smartphones. And when they do, they first turn to search. That’s why it’s paramount for your practice to rise to the top of those search results, both organic and paid.

That’s where the expertise of MyAdvice comes into play. We are search experts and have been since the early days of the Internet. Our SEO practices are constantly evolving to match the changing algorithms of Google and Bing and that keeps your practice high in SERPs.

Do you have questions about mobile search and how it is affecting your practice? Contact your MyAdvice rep and let’s talk about it.

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