Report: Mobile Search Queries 29 Percent Of Total But Growth Modest

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Earlier today comScore released its latest “Digital Future in Focus” compilation of key stats for the US market. Most of the material has been previously exposed in one form or another. However for the first time comScore released search volumes for mobile.

The following chart from the report compares search queries on the PC, smartphones and tablets in Q4 2013 and 2014. The graphic shows that for the compared quarters, overall search volume grew while PC query volumes were slightly down.

comscore mobile search volumes

According to comScore, mobile search queries (smartphones + tablets) were roughly 29 percent of total search volume. Smartphone search volumes were just over 2X tablet volumes. There are many more smartphones in the market so this makes sense.

What would be interesting to know is number of queries per user per device. Those data were not in the report. However, one can do a calculation based on the data and the number of devices/users.

Interestingly, tablet search is growing faster than smartphone search. Perhaps because (at least larger) tablets are closer to PCs than smartphones. Also growth is necessarily going to be larger from a smaller user/usage base. But the comparatively modest year over year growth of smartphone search must be of concern to Google, unless the company is seeing something quite different internally.

In contrast to these data, Google has said that it expects overall search queries on mobile devices to exceed PC volumes this year. Accordingly non-US data may well look very different than US figures in terms of relative volumes.

comscore mobile search growth

Mobile devices — smartphones in particular — dominate digital media time (60 percent vs. 40 percent for the PC). Ad revenues are not commensurate with that usage discrepancy, though some forecasts expect that gap to closely fairly quickly. Even so much of the monetization is expected to come outside of search (e.g., in apps).

The quick takeway, assuming these data are accurate, is that Google search revenues may have essentially peaked on the PC. Google thus either has to take share from rivals on the PC or boost mobile search revenues to maintain growth.

It can also grow video and display advertising but the company faces much more competition in those categories.

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