Desktop vs. Mobile Search Insights

by YC Ng on June 18, 2011

We have just watched the complete footage from Google Inside Search media event that was held at San Francisco few days ago. The media event was centered around on mobile search and the announcement of Google latest innovation -  Voice Search, Search by Image & Instant Pages.

In this post, we would like to share what we have learned about desktop and mobile search from the video.

Google researchers have found that people are always searching for information. When desktop searches drop (on weekends and at night), mobile searches surge.

Search is about removing barriers between what you seek.

The below Google’s data proof that humanity has a fundamental need to learn.

Desktop Search Traffic by Day of Week

It is common for most websites to observe the drop of the traffic when approaching the weekend. It goes down further on Saturday and Sunday when people go out of their desk and spend more time with their family and friends.

Desktop Search Traffic by Day of Week

Mobile Search Traffic by Day of Week

However, when people spend more time outside over the weekend, they tend to search more on mobile. Mobile search traffic picks up on weekend.

As Google Fellow Amit Singhal say,

Your quest for knowledge does not stop because you are away from your computer.

Mobile Search Traffic by Day of Week

Desktop Search Traffic by Time of Day

Now, let us look at the data for 24 hours period. Search traffic rises to lunch, take a tiny dip when we eat, then dips down toward the evening.

Desktop Search Traffic by Time of Day

Mobile Search Traffic by Time of Day

But on mobile, from evening on through 9pm, mobile search traffic starts to go up. At noon, when desktop traffic dropped on lunch time, mobile traffic goes up.

Mobile Search Traffic by Time of Day

Mobile Search Growth

In the past two years, mobile search traffic has grown five-fold. Mobile search today is growing at a comparable pace to Google in the early years.

According to Google, mobile search traffic growth over the past three years (the red line) is comparable to overall Google search traffic growth over the same duration (the blue line) but earlier in our history.

In Google desktop search growth, the dips happened mainly in Christmas as well as summer time . Google calls it “the summer slump”.

However, the mobile traffic is growing without any dips. There are no Christmas slowdown or “summer slump” in mobile!

Mobile vs Desktop Traffic Growth

It is true that humanity has a fundamental need to learn. People are always searching for information. Always. And… Google wants to be an integral part of your quest for knowledge.

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