Is desktop search dead just yet?

Desktop AND Mobile Verses Desktop OR Mobile – eggs in one basket?

As SEO specialists, we have a keen (not to mention a professional) interest in this very topic. Last year we wrote an article about the rise of mobile search and how this has overtaken desktop search. There is no doubt about this or no arguing against it. However, in the interests of fairness we thought we ought to look at desktop search in more detail and see where this really stands, based on a current assessment.

An important note:

Although mobile search usage is at an all-time high, this doesn’t mean it is exclusive and that desktop search should not be considered anymore. We are all aware of diversification and phrases like ‘don’t put your eggs all in one basket.’ With respect to this issue, you would be very wise to follow the principle of that.

Different studies and reports have come out since our last postings on this issue and they do make for some very interesting and thought provoking points. These are likely to feed the sentiment mentioned above:

* One study found that 90% of time usage on mobile phones was through activity connected to apps rather than anything else. On this basis, it would seem there is little time to do anything more – even searching!

* Another piece of research found that the time of day had a big part in determining whether desktop (and therefore desktop search) was used or not. First thing in the morning it was found that mobile and tablet devices were more popular with a similar result being found during the evening and into the night. This makes sense, people are either just up or getting into bed and having a device that is portable would seem to be the point here. However, desktop usage was found to be high during the day and through working hours. Again, this makes sense, as many office workers and others use computers to run their businesses or as part of their job.

* A further study found the activity being performed made a great difference as to whether mobile or desktop was used for search – this particularly relates to conversions in the e-commerce section. The report found that generally expensive products to buy, or ‘complicated’ products that resulted in a degree of thought and decision making from the purchaser, were tended to be searched through a desktop device rather than a mobile device. More ‘trivial’ purchases in comparison were more likely searched and completed from a mobile platform. E.g. Purchases of computers or furniture were more likely done from desktop search and those such as videos, toys, gifts were more likely done through mobile search.

From those three pieces of information alone, you can see that desktop search is far from being a thing of the past and it could lead one to believe that the use of mobile search has been ‘inflated’ to some extent? The future may bring something different but there are some clear trends set here which seem unlikely to change anytime soon. As for the conclusion, we won’t be advising anyone to put their eggs in one basket – being open to all avenues is still the key.

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