So, sales numbers are huge and more than a billion people are currently accessing the web via their smartphones, so why aren’t we seeing much higher shares of traffic in our analytics data?

There are two main ways of accessing data through a smartphone. You have access to the whole web through a regular browser. However, this isn’t always the ideal method, and it’s certainly not the most convenient. Not all websites are optimized for mobile usage, and there are usually a number of inconvenient steps users need to take in order to get to a website.

The second, and more popular, way of accessing content online is via a native application. Apps make accessing data convenient. They allow users to act in an environment that is tailored to the device, and present information in a tightly connected manner.

Data from mobile analytics platform Flurry, tells the story:

what are you doing on your mobile

Although, users carry their mobile devices with them all the time, an overwhelming amount of time is spent in apps rather than a browser.

We need to recognize this need for convenience and also be aware of the dominance of the app over the mobile browser when calculating the marketing opportunity for mobile SEO.

We need to understand mobile search behavior first

There are many reasons why people have to search through the web and don’t immediately have an app available to them. These behaviors need to be recognized and built into a wider SEO campaign through keyword research and the creation of appropriate content. We can divide these different behaviors into two main areas:

On the go.

On demand.

We typically have our mobile phone with us all the time, and the convenience of having Internet access everywhere is allowing us to transform our general behavior around retail and entertainment. Furthermore, public access to Wi-Fi has increased rapidly and 4G will further improve connectivity and download speed.

Mobile search offers an opportunity for instant gratification to the user; i.e. an immediate answer to their query, which heavily influences the type of search that they conduct. We talk about search narrative in retail – the various steps that an individual takes in order to find the product that they want to buy. This may take the following form:

LED TVs

Sony Bravia 42 Inch

Best Buy

Here, the user starts with a broad search – “LED TVs” – to capture the full range of products that they want to see, then they narrow this down to the brand and model that they want to buy. Finally, they use search navigationally to take them directly to the retailer that they want to buy from.

We need to recognise that the user who is searching “on the go” might well be standing in front of a row of similar Sony Bravia 42 inch LED TVs in a store like Best Buy, and want to find out whether the price in front of them is the best in the marketplace, or whether they should be asking for a discount. Much of the search narrative for that person will have happened in a physical rather than online environment.

This behavior throws up interesting challenges around the type of message that is required for users of mobile devices when they arrive at a website. If we assume that a very specific search term is likely to be used by a person who is at the final stage of the buying process, we have to be confident that we’re able to compete effectively on price or service for that user, as well as providing them with a strong reason to purchase via the web, rather than handing over their credit card in store.

On impulse mobile searches are clearly tied into a specific context. A person is prompted by an event or a need, and the convenience of mobile web access means that they’re able to search for information immediately. There are myriad examples of this, and many of them are driven by the use of a mobile device as a supplementary screen to the TV.

In the next blog we will cover the getting to grips with mobile research