A common myth is that mobile users are always on the run leading companies to include only the most important information on their mobile websites and apps. In reality, people turn to their smartphones for virtually anything. Cooking, shopping, commuting, and waiting in line have become much more informative and entertaining thanks to mobile devices. Even at home, users prefer to use their smartphones for browsing rather than their desktop computers or laptops.

How People Buy Things with Google Mobile Search

Image credit: Tom Fishburne

Your clients turn to Google for many tasks, including searching for better prices, movie times, or translations. Your task is to offer content that best answers their question or provides the information they need. Moments of need or want that make users turn to their smartphones happen all the time. Let’s explore how users look for nearby locations with the help of Think with Google research . (By the way, you can discuss your own experiences with mobile ads in comments!)

Mobile maps with geolocation are a convenient way to find locations; compare them to what searching for locations was like just 20 years ago. The use of the “near me” search query has grown enormously (34x times!) in the last five years, and its use has almost doubled since 2013. Consumers have never been as informed as they are now, and this doesn’t merely affect the amount of information they have. It also influences the decisions they make on the spot regarding visiting a store, going to the movies, or driving to a restaurant.

Of the users who search for local stores on their mobile devices, 50% visit the store they searched for within one day, and 18% of those users buy something from that store. The use of local searching in terms of visiting cafes and restaurants is even more amazing: 40% of all users don’t even look for a place to eat until about hour before their anticipated visit. For Millennials, this number grows to 60%. However, mobile search queries related to food aren’t limited to “cafes near me”; people also search for calories, ingredients, restaurant reviews, and more.

Users expect high relevance and immediacy from mobile search results. Your company should work to be available at the right time. Use Google Trends to build your hypotheses and analyze observations about users’ behaviors. For instance, users travel more around Christmas and New Year’s, leading to a spike in “near me” searches. It also makes sense that searches for spas, manicures, and movies are more popular during the day on Saturdays while searches for locations offering pizza and drinks are more popular on Saturday nights.

How People Buy Things with Google Mobile Search

One great way to stand out from your competition is to provide all the information a user might want. For example, when a user searches on Google for bikes, he or she frequently gets information from online stores, which means placing an order and waiting until it ships. Meanwhile, the user could have gotten information about the closest store, the best price, the distance to each store, and how to get to those stores. This information is easily provided through Google inventory ads.

Research shows that 10–18% of all clicks on search ads lead to a store visit. However, users also make long-term decisions based on mobile searches, such as “jobs near me,” “dermatologists near me,” and “technicians near me.”

As a brand, how can you become as relevant as possible to your clients? Work on the usefulness and relevancy of your messages, and deliver them as often as possible when a client searches for what you can provide. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your advertisements incorporate user context? Do you use location extensions/local inventory ads to inform users about nearby stores?
  • Do you include pricing, inventory, and directions to your store? If yes, is that information easy to find on your website?
  • Do you cross-analyze online and offline activities?
  • Does smartphone usage extend the user’s opportunities?
  • What are some typical user scenarios that lead clients to your website? Where do they look for information, and what search settings do they use?

What are your experiences with mobile advertising? Let us know in the comments!