Think With Google: Mobile Searches For ‘Best’ Have Grown 80 Percent Since 2015

Shoppers are doing more research on smartphones than ever — and they're more likely to purchase from companies who customize information to their location.

As smartphones continue to gain share of consumers’ time spent on devices, mobile searches containing the term “best” have grown 80 percent over the past two years, according to Think With Google — indicating that research on mobile plays a leading role in what people buy and where they deem the “best” places to go.

Consumer reliance on mobile devices while shopping isn’t new: Approximately 90 percent shop in stores with their devices in hand for product research and price comparisons, as we wrote last year. That said, micro-moments continue to accelerate consumer expectations for “right here, right now” experiences.

“People take for granted that information is at their fingertips and tailored to their specific needs,” Lisa Gevelber writes in TWG’s report. “But the thing about human beings is they never stop wanting that little bit extra. It’s becoming evident that they’ll keep raising the bar, wanting more useful information, more personalization, more immediacy.”

“Near Me” Is Now Implied

What does this mean for marketers? First, brands of all stripes must take into account that these “well-advised” consumers are doing research for just about everything — not just weighty topics or big purchases. For example, searches for “best toothbrush” have reportedly grown over 100 percent on mobile in the past two years.

Second, and even more importantly, there is an inherent location-specific quality to these requests: Searching for the “best pub” or even “best toothpaste” means that someone wants to go somewhere or buy something in the physical world.  TWG’s research bears this out: Compared to just a year ago, smartphone users are reportedly significantly more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location.

As we’ve written previously, if a consumer searches for “new car” today, they no longer simply see links — they see the knowledge card, with prices, configurations, features of cars for sale, and more, all seamlessly. Similarly, if someone Googles groceries or banks, they get maps back; Google now assumes someone is looking for a place if they search for something present in the physical world.

As such, “search is the glue that connects all of your marketing,” said Biran Kalaria, head of performance, UK at Google, in March. “But it has to be relevant. How? By providing exactly the right responses at exactly the right moment.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.