Mobile Web Surfers a Growing Minority, Most Use Search

April 30, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Paid Search | Search Engine Optimization

Some 30% of mobile users access the internet via their mobile devices, but 75% of those who do also conduct searches, relying mostly on the major search engines rather than carriers’ mobile platforms, according to a study by digital marketing agency iCrossing.

“How America Searches: Mobile,” the sixth in a series of studies commissioned by iCrossing, attempts to quantify the habits of U.S. adults’ use of the internet via mobile devices.

Those who access the mobile web to so frequently: of the 30% of mobile users who access the internet on their mobile devices, 27% do so daily and 50% do so several times a week.

Users in the 20 to 29 age bracket are the most avid mobile web surfers, and men are more likely than women to access the internet via mobile devices.

Search is a popular activity on the medium: 75% of those who access the mobile internet conduct searches on their mobile devices.


Other key findings:

  • Mobile searchers prefer – by a margin of nearly two to one – to navigate directly to mobile-specific versions of major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask rather than use carrier-supplied search functionality (such as a search bar or homepage box).
  • Maps/directions, weather and local information are the content categories of greatest interest to mobile searchers.
  • Around 75% are not willing to browse beyond the second page of search results.
  • An overwhelming 84% of mobile searchers expect the sites they visit frequently to have a dedicated mobile version.

Marketers, content owners and their carrier partners seeking to capitalize on mobile search should realize that the type of content users seek varies greatly but websites must be positioned in at most the first two pages of results in order to earn users’ clicks, iCrossing said.

In addition, sites must be optimized carefully so they can be captured in a maximum of three keywords, according to the firm.


Opinion Research Corporation conducted 1,001 online interviews nationally for the iCrossing mobile web usage study, using a sample from the web panel provider e-Rewards. In addition, three one-hour focus groups were conducted, with respondents categorized into three major age segments (15-20, 21-34 and 35-64) and screened according to the degree of their wireless and wireless internet access.

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