Google may not be the most important player in mobile search for much longer if the trends recently reported by eMarketer continue. A recent study highlights how critical good mobile site search is to anyone with a mobile app, as well as the value of powerful analytics such as those provided by us at Swiftype.
Google became the dominant player on the web thanks to an unrivaled ability to provide the best answer to a query quickly. With the ever-expanding native app world, Google now helps people discover apps that provide even better answers to hyper-specific queries – by allowing deep-links to specialty apps such as Yelp or Kayak. While most will continue to use Google for their broadest searches, those who have downloaded apps designed for specific verticals now expect searches within those apps to generate high-quality, relevant content.
A major trend in 2014 has been the growing adoption of deep-linking, enabling seamless app-to-app, app-to-web, or web-to-app navigation, similar to the site-to-site navigation familiar to web users. As this technology becomes more broadly adopted, marketers are realizing the potential to drive more engagement within their apps, often offering a much better mobile experience than on the mobile web. Google even recently announced that app content will now be indexed. We are now seeing the early changes driven by deep-links.
A new study by eMarketer (reported and analyzed by TechCrunch), reports Google experienced a 17% drop in mobile ad revenue. Meanwhile, companies like Yelp, which generate substantial searches within their mobile apps are seeing major growth in mobile ad revenue. This shift towards searches within apps is compounded by the well-documented overall shift towards mobile internet use from desktop (a Nielson report claims that we spend ~34 hours a week on mobile internet compared to ~27 hours on desktops). Also, a recent study shows nearly 90% of mobile web usage occurs within apps, rather than on the web.
This emerging trend highlights the importance of good search in your mobile app. Regardless of your plans to begin selling ads, if users are more likely to perform a search in your app than on Google, it’s critical to provide them a great experience to entice their return. The shift also creates a major opportunity to learn from your customers, which clients like Asana and SupportBee extensively leverage. If you use a tool such as Swiftype, you’ll even get incredibly simple custom results controls, letting you design better experiences for your searchers than a pure algorithm could generate. You’ll also get access to our powerful search analytics. At Swiftype, we power great site search in mobile apps such as Twitch, DramaFever, Shopify, Vayable, TechCrunch, and more.
Across the quarter billion queries we serve monthly, we’ve seen nearly 25% of them come from mobile (and many of our customers aren’t yet large enough to worry about mobile optimization, as we offer a great low cost plan). Overall, in the US, mobile and tablet search volume only just reached 20% of total Google searches. Both of these numbers will only continue to grow as smartphones move closer to 100% adoption, their power increases, and the speed and availability of mobile internet improves. If you have a mobile app and would like to improve your search, reach out to us to schedule a demo.