Mobile accounts for 10pc of online traffic: Ask.com
Online destination Ask.com claims it is generating 10 percent of its Internet traffic from mobile after shying away from its reputation as a search engine to become a question and answer service.
Ask.com saw a 100 percent growth in traffic from smartphone devices over the past year. The company has pushed its new message with iPhone and Android applications and a mobile-optimized site.
?Mobile is a key part of our strategy and we see it as the future of our company,? said Lisa Kavanaugh, chief technology officer at Ask.com, Oakland, CA.
?Everyone has questions when they are out and about, so mobile makes a natural fit for us,? she said.
Ask.com claims to be the fourth largest site in the United States for unique searches and has 63 million domestic unique monthly users.
According to Ms. Kavanaugh, apps are a staple of Ask.com?s mobile strategy.
?We are focusing intently on the apps for Android and iPhone right now but have plans to look at other platforms in the future as well,? she said.
Over the past year, Android users have made up 60 percent of smartphone traffic.
The company?s line of apps include voice-to-text recognition.
Users can say a question and the app will crawl the Web for a quick answer.
Additionally, consumers can choose to ask real people for their advice on the app.
The apps then extract the answer directly for consumers.
Users can also sign up for SMS alerts that instantly send answers to consumers.
The change in direction from Ask.com was signaled from seeing its consumers looking for faster, on-the-go content.
Ask.com also wanted to get consumers more involved in helping find commonly asked questions around the Web.
?If we have the answer to a question, we will give it to you,? Ms. Kavanaugh said. ?Otherwise, we will give you another option and bring in our digital community to help.?
Lisa Kavanaugh, chief technology officer at Ask.com, Oakland, CA
With Ask.com?s repositioning as a company, it makes sense to include mobile as part of its strategy.
Mobile makes an ideal launch pad for question and answer services because consumers are not always in front of a computer when they have a question that they need an instant answer to.
Mobile also helps Ask.com get a leg up on its competition with services such as ChaCha.com.
ChaCha.com recently reported that more than 20 percent of traffic from the first half of 2011 came in via mobile (see story).
Ms. Kavanaugh said that Ask.com?s mobile users are one and-a-half times more likely to answer questions on mobile than on desktop.
?The real estate of mobile makes a great use case for Ask.com because users often don?t have the time to research through blue links,? Ms. Kavanaugh said.
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York