Daniel Burstein

Mobile Search [Infographic]: 72% of smartphone users look for information on the go

May 11th, 2012

I’m a fan of gallows humor. So, as a Borders shareholder (until it went bankrupt), I love the sign a Borders store employee posted as the chain was going out of business …


No Public Restroom
Try Amazon.com

It’s hard to deny that e-commerce has significant advantages over the traditional brick-and-mortar store:

  • Lower overhead and inventory costs
  • Open 24/7, often to any customer in the world with a connection
  • High gas prices that convince customers to drive less
  • No sales tax (although that playing field will likely level in the near future)
  • The ability for customers to easily find what they’re looking for, comparison shop, and respond to offers

But now it’s time for B&Ms to fight back … at least when it comes to that last advantage. As this infographic created by Kaci Bower, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS, shows, 72% of smartphone users look for information on the go.


Click to enlarge

That one fact along could literally change the face of retail marketing. Now brick-and-mortar stores – everyone from big box stores to mom and pop shops – can leverage the power of search by tapping into customers’ needs.

If a customer is searching for a product, marketers can show him that they have the product in-stock (even better than next-day delivery, no?), have a special offer, and, by the way, we’re just three blocks away. After all, as you can see in the infographic, 95% of smartphone users are looking for local information.

Of course, e-commerce sites can fight back with offers of their own. While 55% of the customers who visited a business in response to a mobile search visited a physical store, 39% visited an online retailer.

There are also benefits to product makers. After all, 30% of smartphone users visited a brand website. No longer will shelf placement alone affect customers’ in-store purchase decisions.


Potential for B2B marketers as well

B2B marketers can find opportunity as well – 32% of smartphone users are looking for work-related information.

Because the smartphone hasn’t just become modern society’s new search tool, it has become the new addiction. While I used to walk by an office building and see people taking a smoking break, now the people milling around are usually glued to their smartphone.


A possibly bright future, but still a sober present

While there is future opportunity, don’t let me convince you to jump in with both feet yet. Start by looking at your analytics. How much traffic are you really getting from mobile? How many conversions? (Coupons can help bricks and mortar retailers answer these questions.)

Only 6% of marketers rate mobile as critical to helping them achieve their marketing objectives, and while it’s growing rapidly, only 10% of website traffic comes from mobile.

So while mobile might have potential, as with any business decision, you have to weigh an investment in mobile search against all of the other possible ways you can invest your marketing budget.



MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition (free excerpt)

MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition (free excerpt)

The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTXMediaCT, Apr 2011 (PDF download)

B2B Trends in Mobile and Online Video Study, Google and Forbes Insights, Dec 2010 (PDF download)

Web Traffic Report, Walker Sands, Q3 2011 (press release)


Related Resources

Optimize your Site for Mobile Search: 5 Strategies

Mobile Email Marketing: iPhone-targeted landing pages boost conversion rate 40% for Ritz-Carlton Destination Club

B2B Marketing: 7 mobile and social media tactics

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

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