Top Mobile Search Keywords 2008

posted January 27th, 2009

At the beginning of the new year I’ve noticed a lot of backwards-looking traffic in my analytics. Many of you are finding this blog while looking for insight into the top mobile search queries entered in 2008. A number of other blogs reported these in December of 2008 when the engines released them, but to my knowledge none of them gave search volume for the queries, and few places have even aggregated the content into a single page. Therefore, search and you shall receive… I give you the top mobile search terms of 2008, as reported by Yahoo! Mobile, AOL Mobile and Google Mobile India:

    Yahoo! Top Mobile Searches 2008

  1. MySpace
  2. Facebook
  3. Craigslist
  4. Movies
  5. Weather
  6. Olympics
  7. The Dark Knight
  8. Kim Kardashian
  9. eBay
  10. AIG
    AOL Mobile Search Top Mobile Searches 2008

  1. MySpace
  2. AIM
  3. iPhone
  4. MocoSpace
  5. Facebook
  6. Craigslist
  7. Weather
  8. Free Ringtones
  9. MapQuest
  10. Match.com
    Google Mobile Top Mobile Searches 2008 Google India

  1. orkut
  2. yahoo
  3. waptrick
  4. gmail
  5. games
  6. katrina kaif
  7. rediffmail
  8. yahoomail
  9. namitha
  10. google


    The Yahoo! and AOL lists have the following four terms in common:

  1. craigslist
  2. facebook
  3. myspace
  4. weather

…which makes a total of 26 unique mobile search terms between the three engines. I took those 26 queries, assigned a category using Ad Intelligence as a guide, and assigned both desktop search volume and Google mobile search volume according to the new Google mobile keyword tool’s estimates. The results were pretty interesting and I’ve included them below:

number

keyword

approximate avg mobile search volume (per month)

approximate avg desktop search volume (per month)

percent of desktop query volume

category

1

myspace

13,600,000

185,000,000

7.35%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Web_Communities/

Social_Networks

2

yahoo

2,740,000

151,000,000

1.81%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Search_Engines

3

waptrick

2,740,000

2,240,000

122.32%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Consumer_Electronics/

Mobile_Phones_&_Accessories/

Mobile
Content

4

mocospace

2,240,000

2,240,000

100.00%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Web_Communities/

Social_Networks

5

facebook

1,500,000

30,400,000

4.93%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Web_Communities/

Social_Networks

6

weather

1,000,000

45,500,000

2.20%

Local Interest/

Weather

7

craigslist

823,000

45,500,000

1.81%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Web_Communities/

Social_Networks

8

free ringtones

673,000

4,090,000

16.45%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Consumer_Electronics/

Mobile_Phones_&_Accessories/

Mobile
Content

9

games

673,000

101,000,000

0.67%

Arts_&_Entertainment/

Video_Games

10

google

673,000

68,000,000

0.99%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Search_Engines

11

movies

450,000

45,500,000

0.99%

Arts_&_Entertainment/

movies

12

gmail

368,000

37,200,000

0.99%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Email

13

ebay

246,000

37,200,000

0.66%

Shopping/

Antiques_&_Collectibles

14

mapquest

201,000

16,600,000

1.21%

Local Interest/

Maps

15

aim

135,000

7,480,000

1.80%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Web_Communities/

Chats_&_Forums

16

iphone

110,000

16,600,000

0.66%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Consumer_Electronics/

Mobile_Phones_&_Accessories

17

kim kardashian

90,500

4,090,000

2.21%

Arts_&_Entertainment/

celebrities

18

olympics

90,500

7,480,000

1.21%

Sports_&_Recreation/

Multi-sports

19

yahoomail

90,500

3,350,000

2.70%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Email

20

aig

33,100

1,000,000

3.31%

Financial_Services/

Insurance/

Life_Insurance

21

match com

27,100

1,500,000

1.81%

Families_&_Relationships/

Dating

22

the dark knight

18,100

2,740,000

0.66%

Arts_&_Entertainment/

movies

23

orkut

14,800

1,500,000

0.99%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Web_Communities/

Social_Networks

24

katrina kaif

720

110,000

0.65%

Arts_&_Entertainment/

celebrities

25

rediffmail

480

165,000

0.29%

Computers_&_Electronics/

Internet/

Email

26

namitha

170

49,500

0.34%

Arts_&_Entertainment/

celebrities

28,537,970

817,534,500

3.49%





I’ll be doing a larger post on popular Google mobile queries in the future, and the data is what it is given that it’s an estimate of the total opportunity and not actual search query volume, but a few observations on the data for now:

  • Certain mobile queries have as much or more of the volume that the same queries have on desktop. In total the mobile search volume for all of these queries is more than 3% of the total search volume, which is larger than the 1% I’ve heard anecdotally.
  • The query “free ringtones” is one that would almost certainly be interpreted as being a mobile query, given that it’s for mobile content. Yet the volume is only 16% of the total volume. I would expect it to be higher.
  • A lot of the usual suspects come up in terms of popular mobile search categories: mobile social networking, celebrities, local interest, arts and entertainment. There are some keywords (like AIG, the Dark Knight) that are seasonal drivers and wouldn’t necessarily represent long term opportunities for traffic. However, they do demonstrate the popularity of news searches in mobile search.
  • Again, no adult queries. This is likely due to the data being filtered beforehand. I will look at adult queries and other popular categories in a later study.

What should marketers take from this look at last year’s mobile volume drivers? Let me put it this way: if you or your clients were selling anything in 2008 that related to any one of these things and you didn’t target mobile users, you missed out on millions of impressions and possible conversions. The engines provide this mobile search data so we as marketers can take advantage of the opportunity today. Hopefully this list makes that a little easier for marketers to understand the mobile opportunity and target the most qualified mobile users in 2009.

Related Posts:

Tags: mobile_seo

  • Tags: mobile_seo
  • 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Top Mobile Search Keywords 2008”

  1. Dan Kuthy says:

    Bryson,

    Great study. Many of these queries seem navigational in nature, which is to be expected, even on the desktop.

    Queries like yahoo, google and myspace are certainly navigational. Are mobile searchers just looking for a convenient path to their favorite Web hubs or are they actively searching with open eyes, looking for new content, brands, information, etc.?

    Here are a few of the queries, at a glance, that aren’t navigational:

    movies
    weather
    olympics
    the dark knight
    kim kardashian
    free ringtones
    games

    You could argue that some of the queries above aren’t navigational, like “AIM” or “iPhone,” but it’s also easy to rule these out because it’s likely that these searchers already have their destination in mind before performing their search.

    Based on the above non-navigational queries, I’d say that mobile search intent is still centered around a few areas:

    local information (weather, movies, the dark knight)
    quick statistics, information, data (weather, the dark knight (ratings?), olympics (who’s winning what events)
    entertainment (kim kardashian, movies, the dark knight, games, ringtones)

    Very interesting data, Bryson, thanks for the study.

    Dan

  2. Justin says:

    Glad to see more on target talk about mobile marketing. I would like to add that since mobile navigation is a bit cumbersome and time consuming most people are initially performing searches to find their information and then save/bookmarking their favorite sites. So the search volume may not reflect the true volume of actual mobile phone uses preferences when it comes to their keyword interests.

    Just a thought. Thanks for the information keep it coming…

  3. [...] of SEO at Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group, and leading SEO expert (my opinion). In this recent post, Bryson does the heavy-lifting for us all, compiling a must-read list of the top mobile search [...]

  4. I would like to add that since mobile navigation is a bit cumbersome and time consuming most people are initially performing searches to find their information and then save/bookmarking their favorite sites.






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