As outlined in the research, Google reported in 2015 that more than half of its 100 billion monthly searches were taking place on mobile devices. In addition, comScore stated that nearly 80% of local searches on mobile devices are turned into purchases, with nearly 90% of those purchases being in a physical store. In Canada, 75% of mobile conversions take place within one hour of the search. Given this, mobile optimization is a must for businesses of all sizes to be found rapidly by on-the-go consumers.
Using eye-tracking technology at MEDIATIVE’s research lab, MEDIATIVE’s experts were able to identify the eye movement patterns of consumers in more than 40 search tasks done on mobile devices. Multiple elements from a mobile S.E.R.P. were analyzed, including mobile screen real estate, organic and paid listings, maps and local listings’ position and knowledge graph. From the results obtained, that were put in comparison with the search behaviour on a desktop, it has been possible to draw basic guidelines on mobile optimization for brands and businesses to ensure better visibility and results with consumers.
Key takeaways from the findings include:
- Brands need to treat mobile and desktop searches differently. As paid ads on mobile become more common, brands should expect to see a drop in traffic from organic listings.
- As with desktops, the first organic listing sees the highest user click rate, and fewer and fewer clicks are going to listings below the top four. 92.6% of clicks were done above the fourth organic listing, leaving less opportunity for publishers to drive traffic to their sites and making it particularly important to take mobile SEO seriously.
- Positioning of maps and local listings has a significant impact on views and clicks. 50% more clicks go to maps and local listings when they are located above organic listings. More than ever on a mobile device, searchers are distracted away from organic listings to view and click on listings that appear before the organic listing.
- The top sponsored ads are seen by nearly all searchers. 91% of searchers saw the ad, on average after only 0.36 seconds. Top sponsored ads take up the majority of screen space on mobile devices. As a result, paid search represents a bigger opportunity for traffic to your site on a mobile when compared to a desktop.
“This research is critical to help advertisers better understand mobile users behaviour,” says Darby Sieben, President of MEDIATIVE. “Mobile is absolutely imperative for any business and understanding the difference between usage behaviour on desktop and mobile is no longer an option; it is a must in the purchase funnel. This research provides concrete evidence that mobile and desktop online marketing should not be seen as choices, and resources should be invested in both.”
The precursor to this research piece was a 2014 MEDIATIVE study that looked at how search engine users interact with Google results pages on desktops, accessible here.