Independent Thinking Blog

Is Mobile Search Different?

Is mobile search different?

Neicole Crepeau pointed me to some interesting statistics about how people search when they’re using their mobile phones. One statistic, in particular jumped out at me:

40 percent of smartphone users say that they’re more [influenced] by users’ opinions given within the last 24 hours than by those expressed 30 days ago.


My initial reaction: I bet this is a combination of how search results are weighted (more-recent items often rank higher) and the fact that we don’t often deep dive on a phone-sized screen. So it may be that the newest results rank higher in people’s minds because they pop up first.

If I’m in Costco, for example, and looking for information on a printer that’s being hawked, I’ll look at the most recent two or three results that come up via Google. I might also go to cnet if the initial reviews look promising–or I might just buy it and try it. But I’m not searching all over the Web while I’m on the go. Contrast that to when I’m sitting in front of my computer: I’ll look at credibility, sources, and surf around until I’m satisfied I have complete information.

The one exception: health care. Even if I’m looking up a health condition on my mobile from the ER, I’m going to make sure the source is credible–even if it means surfing through a few extra screens.

Our customers, clients, and prospects are increasingly looking for us–and for information about us–online. We need to understand not just how they’re doing it, but also why. Then we can start to optimize for that.

Photo by J.D. Hancock (Flickr).

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