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Knowledge Base

Mobile-Desktop Search Traffic Share Stable at 60-40

By Christine Hazel 17 May 2019
Mobile-Desktop Search Traffic Share Stable at 60-40

Data from Hitwise, as reported in an article on Search Engine Land, showed that approximately 61.3 per cent of searches on various categories used mobile devices.

The traffic and revenue allocation between mobile and desktop was roughly 65 to 35, with the former besting the other. This information was released last week by the IAB Annual Internet Advertising Revenue Report. Desktop ad spending remains the same, while mobile (and video ads) are experiencing drastic growth.

Query and Ad Revenue are Closely Related

It could be coincidental or systematic result of analytics, ad revenue is roughly correlated with search traffic distribution if data from Hitwise were any indicator. The very essence of mobile ad revenue growth stems from three factors:

(1) consumer use of mobile as the main tool for search and shopping

(2) Google direction and product highlight

(3) Facebook reach and highlights

Google once shared that it attribute its growth to the rise of mobile search and YouTube’s popularity. Mobile ad spending surged 40 per cent year over year, while desktop spending has dropped if not consistently stayed flat, as noted in the IAB report. Search accounted for 43 per cent of total mobile ad revenue while combined PC and mobile search constituted 45 per cent of total ad spending.

Mobile Search Rose by 3 Per Cent In the Last 3 Years

3 years ago, Google informed the general public that mobile search had exceeded the 50 per cent threshold worldwide. This figure has not been updated since the initial announcement. Google simply reiterated this piece of information at Google Marketing Live earlier this month.

2017 statistics from Hitwise showed how mobile search (including tablets) in the United States accounted for roughly 58 percent of overall search queries. That was based on a comparison of search volume across 11 key categories. Hitwise may have been bombarded with requests to update past analysis within this month or before the second half of 2019.

In April this year, across ten verticals, Hitwise discovered that 61.3 per cent of searches (on average) were conducted using mobile devices. The food category had the largest search volume, with mobile queries accounting for 70 percent. Figures slightly dropped from 72 per cent since 2016.

Music, on one hand, saw the least percentage of mobile queries (only 52 per cent) among the verticals already assessed. Automotive garnered around 62 per cent mobile queries in 2016 and 67 per cent for the first few months of 2019. Queries for news report remained flat, while health-related search on mobile dropped 4 per cent since 2016.

Is there a Mobile Search Engine Marketing Slowdown?

The vertical data suggests that even tough mobile search volumes grew 3 per cent overall in the past two and a half years, a kind of general homeostasis may have occurred. Mobile search ad spending was roughly 62 per cent of the total search expenditure, which corresponds to the ratio of queries between PC and mobile/tab devices.

Nothing conclusive about total engagement or time allocation, which is predominantly comprised of a few mobile apps. In fact, such circumstances may continue to drive growth. However, this does not indicate that mobile search ad-spending could drop in the next quarters of 2019.


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