It is well-documented that mobile search is on the rise in the US and globally, but the numbers may surprise you. This past holiday shopping season saw increases across the board in terms of online shopping traffic and spending from mobile devices (i.e., smartphones and tablets). All signs point to the mobile web continuing to grow as smartphone and tablet adoption rates continue to climb and shoppers become more comfortable using their devices to search products and make purchases.

Still Room for SEO
Addressing the numbers, over 14% of all visits to online retailer websites in December were done using a smartphone or tablet. That is considerable, and especially relevant is that the number is climbing; last December that rate was 5.6%. More and more shoppers are simply using their mobile devices to do their online shopping. Most important however, is the dollars spent once there, and that is increasing as well. Purchasing from mobile devices doubled going from 5.5% in December 2010 to 11 percent this past December, 2012. This rise fits into the larger retailing picture as, according to IBM figures; online retail increased 7.5% from last December.

So what exactly do these numbers mean? As I just alluded to, they mean more people are using the devices to shop online than before. But what does this mean for search? Paid search clicks have risen considerably so many users are directed through ads, but without specific numbers to point to, one can assume organic search played a role in directing customers during this time period as well. In the end, with more people going online and searching for retailers, there will surely be more demand for SEO to optimize content and target potential customers.

Paid Search Picks Up
Pay per click was the big winner with the holiday numbers in. There was a 56% increase in paid search clicks and there was a 23% rise with the click-through rate (CTR). According to Marin Software, spending on paid search increased by 35% across the top three (Google, Yahoo, and Bing), and cost-per-click fell 14% all during the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to 2010.

Paid search was more efficient than in the past and customers were responding well to the ad campaigns engaged in by the companies themselves or the SEO firms that managed them. It appears these mobile behaviors from customers are trending. If this continues (which it should), online marketing, SEO and pay per click management in particular, will be increasingly more relevant in the months to come, and I’ll be looking forward to comparing these new numbers with those released at this time next year.