How People Search: Mobile vs. Desktop

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 | 15:27


Posted by Jonny Cranmer, Industry Analyst

We wanted to gain greater insight into how people search for travel products online, and how user behaviour varies on desktop vs. mobile. So we analysed a sample of travel queries & split them into three buckets: Brand, Head & Long Tail (see images for definitions). We assessed queries made via desktops, and travel queries made on mobile phones.

Please see image 1. Travel queries made from desktops continue to grow. When we index Brand, Head & Long Tail query volumes to January 2009, we see a pattern emerge. The growth of Long Tail & Head queries is aligned more closely right before seasonal vacation periods. This implies that users conduct Long Tail searches early in the research period, before refining them to Head & Brand Terms closer to traditional holiday periods.

Please see image 2. Travel queries made on mobile devices continue to grow at a very fast pace. The highest volume of searches come from Brand and Head terms. This makes sense, as you might expect people to keep mobile searches short due to keyboard limitations. However, when we look at indexed rates, we notice that the growth of long tail searches is very strong. This is interesting to note - perhaps users are becoming more comfortable with mobile search & therefore being more specific in their search.