Growth of Mobile Search for Classifieds Sector in Mid-Western Europe
In the first quarter of 2011, Bluerank published a report on Mobile Search for Classifieds Sector in Mid-Western Europe. A year later, we have released the second part of that report, presenting the development of mobile search and the growth of its popularity among users. Our previous predictions concerning the development of mobile search in classifieds sector proved right. Again, we have conducted a research using Google AdWords keyword tool, to determine the level of popularity of mobile search for branded keywords concerning the classifieds sector and compare them with non branded ones.
Using the Google AdWords keyword tool, we have verified the popularity of selected searches among people using desktop devices, WAP-based mobile phones and high-end mobile devices with browsers of full functionality.
The amount of mobile searches for general keywords (non-branded, not in classifieds sector), in European countries vary from 16,4% (United Kingdom) to 2,1% (Bulgaria). Having analyzed 195 general phrases we calculated, that the mobile part of search grew for about 3,1% last year, 0,5% out of which is a growth of search on WAP mobile devices, and 2,6% remains a growth on smartphones.
Taking into account brand keywords containing the names of classifieds portals, mobile search varies from 15,2% in Ireland, 14,1% in Denmark, 12,4% in United Kingdom, to 2,6% in Finland, 2,5% in Slovenia, and 2,1% in Belgium. More data can be found on graphics below.
Growth of mobile search
The growth of mobile search popularity for classifieds websites vary across Europe. Popularity growth of mobile search is most rapid in Ireland (9.4%), Denmark (8.7%), United Kingdom (5.5%), Switzerland (5.1%), and Austria (5%). There are also countries, in which mobile search growth during last year was less than 1%. Those countries include i.e. Lithuania (0.9%), Slovakia (0.6%) and Croatia (0.0%). The phenomenon of mobile search in Croatia falls into a separate category. In 2011 WAP mobile-search there constituted 2.4%, and during last year it dropped to 1.4%. On the other hand, smartphones mobile-search grew from 1.4% to 2.4%, which indicates growing popularity of high-end mobile devices.
In 2011 the most mobile countries (where more than 5% of all classifieds-related searches are generated by the users via mobile devices) were Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland and United Kingdom. In 2012 ten more countries reached the 5% level of mobile-search. Those countries include Austria, Czech Republic, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Latvia.
Webmasters and online marketers noticed the growing popularity of mobile search, but their reactions weren’t spectacular. In 2011 only 13% of researched classifieds portals had a mobile version. Currently, 19% of classifieds websites have mobile users oriented versions. In countries, where more mobile versions of classifieds websites were created, the average growth of mobile search has reached 3,5%. In countries where there were no mobile websites, the mobile search grew only for 2,6%. It’s a proof that users appreciate mobile versions of classifieds websites and enjoy using them.
In Europe, there is still a virtual border, which divides a continent into two parts. The first part has been dominated by smartphone users, while in the second WAP mobile phones are still in the lead. The “WAP part” of Europe is the central-east (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic and so on). Eight European countries have observed greater number of searches via WAP than smartphones. Those countries are Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Latvia. However, only three of those countries tend to have greater growth of WAP, than smartphones mobile-search (Poland, Hungary and Latvia). Smartphones have become more and more popular, and after some time, they will have the overwhelming majority in mobile-search industry. This virtual border is gradually moving east, and it will take some time to include the whole Europe in the smartphone group.
There is an improvement in mobile-website optimization. In 2011 only one website was fully optimized for mobile search. Currently, sixteen lightweight versions were optimized properly for mobile search. This tendency is promising, however it can’t be called a success yet. It seems that website owners aren’t aware of the huge potential of mobile search.
The growth of mobile search is a fact. People are using their mobile devices more and more often. The growing trend is noticeable in general search, but also in classifieds sector. Mobile search is becoming a significant part of search and website owners should take proper actions to catch up. If classifieds website owners want to keep mobile traffic on their websites, they should put greater emphasis on creating a lightweight versions, which will be optimized for mobile search.
The research has been done on 186 phrases – names of classifieds websites from selected countries and the translations of the word “classifieds”. The websites were selected so as to choose the most popular portals from each country, on the basis of the number of users reported in Google AdPlanner tool.
The second part of the research was done on 15 general, extremely popular keywords (i.e. books, sports, insurance) for each of selected countries.