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The International Importance of Mobile Search

Mobile search marketing is perhaps the biggest growth area in digital marketing right now, and there’s a good reason for that. The foreign language internet is the future of ecommerce – online businesses are coming to discover that it’s no longer enough to just target one country or language, if they want to continue to grow, they need to expand beyond a limited target market to reach everyone in the world.

Gone are the days when the internet was a predominantly English domain – foreign languages are experiencing phenomenal rates of online growth, fuelled by increasing rates of internet accessibility in emerging economies, and nowhere more so than the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

The BRIC nations are commonly cited as the up and coming economies that smart investors are looking towards, but the same could equally be said of the CIVETS countries (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa). The one thing that the majority of these countries have in common, when it comes to ecommerce, is that consumers mainly access the web via handheld devices such as web-enabled mobile phones.

There are various reasons for this – the cost of desktop and laptop computers compared to relatively cheap mobile phones, access to high speed broadband infrastructure and the cost of home broadband packages, etc – but in the end it all boils down to the fact that if you want to sell online to consumers in emerging economies, you need a mobile ecommerce strategy.

Here are a few stats to give you an idea of the size of the potential market, and how to claim your slice of the pie.

Business Monitor International predicts that the BRIC nations will see GDP growth in 2011 of 6.4%, while emerging economies (all economies outside the G7 and other developed Western nations) will see 5.1% growth – compared to a measly 1.9% growth for the G7 economies.

Clearly, the emerging markets are where the true growth is – and these markets are conducting ecommerce via their mobiles. An eMarketer report on mobile phone subscribers 2009 to (estimated) 2014 shows that:

  • There will be over 200 million mobile subscribers in both Brazil and Russia by 2014;
  • As well as 853 million mobile subscribers in India by the same year;
  • And over a billion mobile subscribers in China.

Indeed, worldwide mobile searches grew by 247% last year, while desktop searches dropped by 15%, according to this Tamar White Paper.

Luckily, there are a few tricks and benefits to mobile search marketing.

  • Because screens on handsets are much smaller than desktop computers, mobile searchers are more likely to click through to the top search result, which means that your ongoing SEO efforts will be more crucial than ever. The good news is that search marketing in foreign languages delivers a better return on investment (ROI) than search engine marketing in English, due to there being less content overall in the foreign language internet and therefore less competition.
  • Research shows that mobile searchers click-through on pay-per-click (PPC and PPC networks) ads more than desktop searchers (probably for the same reasons as above), so investing a bit more in your PPC campaigns should deliver a solid ROI.
  • Mobile searchers spend less time on each site, though, with only 33% making it past the first page – this indicates that you want your landing pages to lead quickly to conversions, no faffing about!

There’s a ton of literature out there poring over the nitty-gritty of mobile searching, so I won’t go into it any further here, but suffice to say, if you’re in ecommerce, right now the emerging markets are where the exciting growth is to be found, and if you want an entry point into those markets, then you’ll need to get multilingual, and mobile!

Category Mobile SEO
Christian Arno CEO at Lingo24

Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a global translation company. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 200 employees ...

The International Importance of Mobile Search

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