Mobile’s immediacy effect: Half of mobile search conversions happen in one hour

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 7:00 AM

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In this era of mobility, our smartphones are always with us, keeping us connected anytime and anywhere. With this constant connectivity, we’ve come to expect information (literally) right at our fingertips just a search away - whether it’s locating the nearest sushi restaurant or booking flights for your upcoming trip. In “Mobile Search Moments: Understanding How Mobile Drives Conversions”, we set out to understand when and why people turn to mobile search, the actions they take as a result, and how marketers can capitalize on every mobile search moment. We found that there’s an immediacy effect of mobile search, with more than half of the resulting conversions (going into a store, calling a business, or making a purchase) happening within just one hour.

Working with Nielsen, we also wanted to push the standard of mobile research. It’s traditionally been difficult to quantify mobile’s full impact on driving conversions, particularly since consumer surveys are often constrained to broad recall questions. Instead, we asked participants to log their mobile searches over two weeks in a diary smartphone app - logging more than 6,000 mobile searches in total. We followed up to ask them what actions resulted from those searches, helping us draw more precise, measurable connections between mobile searches and the conversions that they drive online and offline.


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Here are the highlights of the research:

Mobile search is both always-on and on-the-go
Mobile has traditionally been considered an out-and-about or on-the-go context, used on the bus or while in a store. While that’s certainly true, the research showed that mobile’s role is also much more than that. People turn to mobile devices throughout the day to find information because of its speed and convenience, with 77% of mobile searches happening at home or at work. What does this mean for marketers? Mobile is always-on for consumers, so marketers should make sure their mobile search strategies are reaching people in these different customer contexts.

Mobile searchers take a variety of actions... and they act quickly
We also found that three of four mobile searches trigger additional actions. These range from open-ended actions like additional research (36%) or a website visit (25%), to more concrete conversions like a store visit (17%), a purchase (17%), or a phone call (7%). On average, each mobile search triggers nearly two actions, so in order to understand the full value of mobile, marketers must evaluate the different ways that their customers convert, both online and offline, and measure accordingly.

Most interestingly, not only do mobile searchers take action - they act fast. In fact, 55% of conversions from mobile searches happen within one hour. We see this immediacy effect with mobile because not only are people potentially closer in physical proximity to a purchase, but they’re also closer to the crucial decision moments. Forty-five percent of mobile searches are conducted to help make a decision, and that number jumps to two-thirds when happening in a store. And when people use mobile search to help make a decision, they’re more likely to convert. So it’s important for marketers to be present during those searches, while also creating ads and experiences that are relevant to this immediacy.

Context is key to mobile searches
The research also showed that the types of searches people conduct on mobile are strongly tied to their specific context, like location and time of day. For instance, shopping searches are twice as likely to be done in-store. Mobile searches made in stores are a key opportunity for marketers to reach someone who’s looking to take action. And since searchers are also 55% more likely to notice ads when they’re in a store, there’s a huge opportunity for marketers to capitalize on these mobile-led moments.

Mobility continues to change the way that we search, explore and shop, and as consumer behavior comes further into focus, there are clear opportunities for marketers to take advantage. Check out all of our findings by downloading the full report here.
 
Posted by: Ben Chung, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads

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