Yahoo! Search at SMX West – Day 2

  • Posted March 10th, 2011 at 3:54 pm by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Mobile, Search

SMXWest-anilDuring the morning session “Mobile Apps and How They’re Revolutionizing Search,” panelists discussed today’s most popular search apps, how they gather data, and the opportunities they present to marketers.

Anil Panguluri, Director of Mobile Search at Yahoo!, offered recent research findings that showed that smartphone users are engaging with apps in equal amounts to the Internet browser on their mobiles, but the reach of browser-based search is 61% versus only 26% for apps. (The reach of search on PCs is 76%, so already mobile is closing in.) “Given a choice, users prefer to use apps,” he stated. “I believe that users use their browser for general searches, and apps for vertical searches.”

Photo: Yahoo!’s Anil Panguluri during the panel.

“Finding information that meets a specific need” was, not surprisingly, the top motivation for people using search on mobiles, but the research showed that users who use apps for search are more advanced, finding what they need more quickly and with fewer clicks. “Apps offer a search experience beyond the ten blue links,” Panguluri said. “Going forward, general mobile search will go deeper into the user flow” to enhance the experience.

Panguluri added that app users are not hostile to advertising in their apps, but that 88% of those surveyed pegged their #1 priority in this regard is that the ads do not make them leave the app, while 59% said that they want “free stuff” to be offered in conjunction with the ad. “Mobile ads are actually more impactful than online display ads,” Panguluri claimed. “Our research showed that Ad Awareness measured 22% higher for mobile ads than for our control group.” He also explained for Yahoo!’s mobile audience, which currently numbers 41 million people, rich, well produced ad experiences work extremely well, especially videos.

How to manage search marketing on various platforms

Another panel discussion focused on the devices people use to search and what it says about them—and their receptivity to your marketing messages. Taylor Schreiner, Senior Director of Strategic Research and Insights at Yahoo!, described a study we conducted with RepriseMedia, which showed that 21.4% of smartphone users do searches on it. “This is a huge and increasing piece of search in the future,” he said. “You have to realize that search is a mobile phenomenon.”

Schreiner stated that iPad users do more searches (by percentage of share) for movie and TV info than desktop users, as well as for real estate and investment searches. The latter stat, especially, reveals the Demography aspect of mobile search—higher income people can afford tablets, and are more likely to invest.

While brand searches are still driven by PCs, “I expect that here too, tablets’ search share will grow to equal PCs,” Schreiner opined. He said that this difference is related to search term length: PC and tablet users tend to use longer queries, while mobile users type in much shorter searches.

Full Day 2 coverage by Jeff Hecox can be found in this post on the Yahoo! Advertising blog.

After his panel, Taylor Schreiner spoke in the video below around the discussion highlights.

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