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55pc of mobile search conversions happen in one hour: study

With more than half of mobile searches resulting in a conversion within one hour, marketers need to be prepared to quickly serve users a full spectrum of information once a search has been made, according to a new study from Google and Nielsen.

The ?Mobile Search Moments: Understanding How Mobile Drives Conversions? study looks extensively at how and why consumers use their mobile devices to search. The research also examines the increasing role that context is playing in targeting consumers across multiple devices.

"Mobile searches should lead to mobile-friendly experiences first and foremost," said Ben Chung, product marketing manager of mobile ads at Google, Mountain View, CA.

"Advertisers need to make sure that their sites load fast, are easy to navigate and easy to transact," he said.

"Just as important, advertisers need to think deeply about the context that their mobile searcher is in and what problem they are trying to solve. For example, airlines can address the on-the-go traveler's needs by emphasizing flight status, check-in and boarding functionality. Restaurants may feature only the essential info that a prospective diner needs before booking, such as reservation availability, menu and location."

Action-based searches
The Google study compiles responses from 416 consumers and includes logs, follow-up surveys and exit interviews.

Although the majority of conversions related to mobile search takes place within one hour of a search, attributed sales can keep flowing afterwards, too.

For example, 81 percent of mobile search-related conversions take place within five hours of conducting a search.

In addition to conversions, 63 percent of mobile-search triggered actions take place within one hour of a search. A post-search activity includes everything from a store visit, a phone call or consumers spreading the word about information via word-of-mouth.

Within five hours of making a mobile search, 84 percent of mobile search-spurred activities take place.

Three out of four mobile searches lead to follow-up actions, per Google?s findings.

Moreover, the average mobile search results in 1.89 follow-up actions. The average search made either on the go or in a store generate 1.98 follow-up actions.

Certain search categories ? such as beauty, automotive and travel ? have higher numbers of follow-up actions.

Twenty-eight percent of mobile searches end with a conversion, which includes a purchase made from an in-store visit, a call or a direct purchase.

Conversions combined with a post-search action are attributed to 73 percent of mobile searches, according to the research.

Additionally, 25 percent of searchers visited a retailer?s Web site after making a mobile search, and 36 percent continued to conduct research.

Mobile search can be persuasive in influencing what a consumer does post-search.

For example, the study found that mobile searchers were 30 percent more likely to visit a retailer?s Web site, and 57 percent more likely to visit a store after making a mobile search.

Context is king
According to the study?s findings, there is a misconception that mobile is only for on-the-go use.

Seventy-seven percent of mobile searches occur either at home or at work while only 17 percent of mobile searches happen while on the go.

However, shopping-related searches are twice as likely to be from in-store consumers, pointing to the growth threat of showrooming for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Arts and entertainment, news and general knowledge top the list of categories that consumers search for via their mobile devices.

Fifteen percent of the study?s participants said that they searched for entertainment and arts information via their mobile devices. News information was searched for by 12 percent of users, and 10 percent of consumers searched for general information.

Other top types of information that consumers search for via mobile include shopping, food and technology content.

The key in understanding the types of content that consumers are looking for ties back to context, though.

For example, the highest percentage of entertainment and arts-related mobile searches took place in a school, followed by at home and while on the go.

Food and shopping-related searches on the other hand are overwhelming made in-store, showing the opportunities that marketers have to tap into location and other contextually-relevant marketing tactics.

Time impact
Mobile searches also spike during particular times of the day and are highest in the afternoon and at night.

The highest percentage of mobile searches ? 22 percent ? were made between 8 p.m. and midnight, likely when consumers have more down time. Similarly, 18 percent of mobile searches were made from 6-8 p.m., and 19 percent were completed between 3-6 p.m.

When it comes to why consumers chose to use their mobile devices to search, 81 percent of the study?s participants cited either speed or convenience.

Additionally, 45 percent of mobile searches are meant to help consumers make a decision.

The study also looked at how responsive consumers were to mobile ads.

Sixty-five percent of participants noticed mobile ads during the study. Specifically, these users are most likely to notice mobile ads when they are in an environment where they make purchase decisions, such as in a store, at home or at work versus while traveling.

When asked if they found mobile ads useful, 59 percent of respondents polled agreed to the statement.

Additionally, consumers with a goal in mind while searching were most likely to notice ads. Passive consumers who were searching via their devices were less prone to noticing mobile ads.

"Advertisers need to be in front of mobile searches, especially since the person on the other side of the search is likely to act or even convert very quickly," Mr. Chung said.

"Lower-funnel keywords and location-specific branded queries are important places to start," he said.

"There's an immediacy effect with mobile because not only is someone likely closer in physical proximity to a purchase, but they?re also closer to the crucial decision moments. Knowing that shopping queries are two times more likely to be in-store, targeting your mobile search campaigns around store locations can help you capture this real-time demand."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York