15 November 2011

Can Mobile Search Be the Next Big Thing?

With the boom of mobiles, smartphones and tablets, mobile internet search has become a very frenzy topic. Knowing the potential market for mobile search, many e-commerce businesses are trying to grab a share of its own.

According to Dotmobi, more than half the global populations are connected via mobile phones today and there are already 4 times as many internet-enabled phones in the world than there are PC's. Google estimates that about 40 million access internet in India through their mobile phones which resulted in 30 million app download in a week. The number of search queries originating from mobile phones has grown four times in the last 12 months and 50 times since 2007 and it's also predicted that more than 300 million people in India would be hooked on to mobile internet by the year 2015.

Most advertisers had been ignoring mobile as a marketing channel, according to a report by Forrester Research called Interactive Marketing Channels to Watch, suggested that only 13 percent of marketers use mobile text message ads and only 11 percent were bothering to advertise on wireless application protocol (WAP) sites.

 Although the huge and daily growing number of people that have access to the mobile internet, there have also been a number of challenges to mobile web adoption. The reason may be the cost and clarity where the carrier data plans are expensive and confusing compared to regular internet access plans. The limited screen size of mobile negatively impacts the user's browsing experience and due to the limited screen size there will be no ease of use, which leads an increase number of clicks needed to get content.

The increasing availability of high-speed WiFi internet access in many public areas like airport, hotels, bars, libraries and shopping centers has encouraged users to use laptops and tablets to access the internet on the move rather than through mobile phones. This may be another factor, which may have impacted on the growth of mobile internet usages.

Despite mobile is the perfect advertising platform in many ways like, it's always with the consumer, it's always on, it provides personal profiling data, it provides location data, it's interactive and it has multiple billing options already built in. Presently the major mobile search is related to the news, entertainment, maps and direction, directory listing and local services.

 The telecom division of Informa Group reports that advertisers are expected to spend $11 billion on mobile marketing by 2011. Hopeful predictions like this have compelled the major search engines to start making significant investment in the future of mobile search.

Google have predicted that their own mobile division, based in London, will become the biggest driver of new business for the company and it has developed its own mobile search engine and has signed a number of deals to provide mobile search services to major operator portals.

By the prediction of Google's own mobile search engine mobile makers like Motorola and LG has agreed to add a dedicated Google button to some of its handsets and will start to ship handsets pre-loaded with Google services.

Like Google has developed its own mobile search engine, Yahoo has unveiled a new app called Yahoo Go Mobile and even Microsoft also launched Live Search for mobiles. There are also a number of startups like Jumptap and Medio who will be bringing services to the new mobile search space.

Despite several advantages and disadvantages, it's clear that the major search properties, in partnership with the phone manufacturers and network services, are intent on driving the mobile search sector forward. With this kind of momentum there's no doubt that mobile search marketing will eventually become a major part of online marketing.