“Mobile search is different from standard, PC-based Web search in three ways,” said Matt Tengler, Product Manager at JumpTap, a Massachusetts-based firm that helps wireless operators deliver a mobile search experience for subscribers and advertising partners:
Content: “Currently, mobile content is dominated by mobile consumables, such as ring tones,” he said.
Form factor: “The first page becomes the first few search results,” he said.
Opportunities: “A personal device is always on,” he said, “presenting more customised advertising opportunities.”
Mikio Matsuo, Product Manager of Multimedia Experiences at Nokia Mobile Search, added, “Mobile search is the ultimate advertising platform.”A mobile phone is personal, always on, or always with a person,” he said. “There is a great opportunity for search and mobile maps - adding relevant icons to mobile maps.” Yahoo launched its search engine advertising for mobile phones in September 2006 and it is proving to be very interesting.
However, mobile search has a number of barriers to content delivery. Usability is a concern because user interfaces need to mature (controlled by the mobile phones currently on the market). And there is a limited amount of content outside of a few key verticals.
“Given a mobile phone’s limited screen size,” said Paul Yiu, Product Manager of Mobile Search at Yahoo, “what Yahoo has done is have one box - no room for tabs. Then, we determine the most likely type of search. For example, a search for ‘Starbucks’ is most likely a local search.”
Limited screen real estate also does not encourage longer query strings. Currently, the average number of keywords per query is 2.3 on standard Web searches. Tengler presented some data from his organization:
Percentage of searches Number of query words
- One Word -50.0%
- Two Words - 33.9%
- Three Words - 10.5%
- Four Words - 3.7%
“Fifty percent of mobile searches represent the top seven categories,” said Tengler.
Categories & Percentage of mobile searches
- Navigation Categories - 16%
- Music/ring tones - 10%
- Entertainment - 8%
- Sports - 6%
- Reference - 5%
- Local -4%
- Shopping - 2%
Despite mobile search limitations, the mobile search engine reps have seen a steady growth in unique users, searches per user, and average transaction amount. For example, at the Japanese Web site Rakuten.com, the average transaction on both the personal computer (PC) and on a mobile phone is $80. “We are seeing the same trends in Europe and the USA,” said Agarwal.
The mobile internet in the UK is still behind the US as you can see from these figures, but is likely to catch up fast in 2007.
Add comment December 26th, 2006