Google’s search stronghold vulnerable to mobile threat
Google may lose its dominance of the search market as internet use becomes increasingly mobile, according to a new report, which found the quality of traffic coming from Google mobile search substandard to that of Bing’s.
Despite Android’s strong growth, Adobe’s ‘The Dynamic Nature of Mobile Search in Asia-Pacific’ report suggests that Google may be toppled in the mobile search stakes unless it holds alliances with the right handset manufacturers.
When assessing the position of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, the analysis of 2.5 billion visits to over 125 APAC websites reports that while Google retains the largest share of mobile search overall, Bing and local players such as Baidu (China) and Naver (South Korea) appear to offer brands more valuable visitors.
The report contends that the primary driver of Google’s dominant market share is not Android device penetration, but its position as the default search engine on competing smartphones. “Impending disruptions in both technology and new alliances could reshape the market share of current search engine leaders,” it warns.
The study found that Bing delivers lower bounce rates, with 29% of searches resulting in single page visits, compared to Google which delivers a bounce rate of 37%.
“Bing’s performance in traffic quality offers it the potential to become a stronger competitor, but only if it increases the overall volume of mobile search referred traffic,” the report reads. “It’s possible that Bing’s superior results are influenced by the quality of its smaller audience rather than solely by its search algorithms.”
The study also forecasts that increases in mobile internet browsing in APAC and heavy reliance on mobile search will cause brands to rely more on search optimisation for driving mobile traffic than for traffic on PCs.
When it comes to driving traffic to websites, search was found to matter more on mobile devices than on PCs, with more visitors to mobile sites originating from search engines than visitors to full websites on PCs. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, were the source of 31% of website hits on tablets, 28% on phones and 25% on PCs.
“Digital marketers in the APAC region should ensure that they are adequately investing in search and stay ahead of the coming changes by developing country-specific mobile optimisation strategies that incorporate these realities,” the study advises.