Web Search vs Mobile Search

February 28th, 2019

Web Search vs Mobile Search
David Bell

by David Bell

CEO at Gummicube, Inc.

The world runs on data. Data can tell you what people want, how they behave and what they’re looking for, all of which are essential for marketing an app. When you use data, it must be accurate and relevant to your market – while this should go without saying, many developers still make the mistake of relying on web data for their App Store Optimization instead of mobile data. If you want your app to succeed on the App Store and Google Play Store, you need to use data from mobile searches.

How Searches Differ

The reason why web data and mobile data are different stems from the ways that users search on each platform. The overall structure and goals of these searches vary so greatly that we can get very different data based on searches for the same overall thing.

Web searches tend to be transactional (do something), informational (know something) or navigational (go to something) queries.

For instance, a user might search for “Buy discount tickets to Hawaii” as a transactional query, “where can I buy cheap plane tickets?” for an informational query, or “discount airline ticket website” for a navigational query. While the end goal of purchasing tickets is the same, those are three different ways of searching for the same goal.

Mobile searches, on the other hand, are typically 2 to 3-word searches related to the features. Rather than an action or information, users will search for the specific thing they want or a related brand.

The same ticket-seeking user would search the App Store for “ticketing app” or “travel app” to seek the specific features they need. Many of the top search terms are brands, so the same user might also search for “Travelocity” or specific airlines such as “United” or “Delta.”

As the example illustrates, we have two vastly different ways of searching for the same end goal. Utilizing web search data for optimizing a mobile app would result in targeting terms and phrases users simply aren’t searching for on mobile app stores, resulting in subpar optimization.

Why You Need Mobile for ASO

Web search volume is easily accessible, so it can be tempting to utilize it. Doing that will only provide data that does not apply to search trends in the mobile app stores. Instead, it’s important to use a dedicated mobile data-based ASO platform like DATACUBE, which provides mobile search data for both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

There is only an overlap of approximately 20% between web and mobile data. In other words, if an app developer were to target keywords gained from web data for a mobile app, only 2 out of every ten would be useful. Needless to say, using mobile data means you’re targeting the exact keywords users are searching for.

This is one of the reasons why SEO and ASO are different. While using web data for SEO will provide effective results, that’s because the data matches perfectly – it’s a round peg for a round hole. Trying to use the same data for ASO is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. They simply don’t align or fit.

Good mobile data can inform developers on the specific terms and phrases users are looking for, including the volume. Even similar phrases can have very different search volume; for example, a real estate app will want to know whether users are searching more for “home buying” or “buy a home” so it can base its metadata structure on how users search in the App Stores.

While free tools that draw from web search data may seem tempting, the true price comes from the discoverability and potential conversions the app loses by relying on an inaccurate source of data. In a competitive environment like the App Stores, it’s important to use the most accurate information possible for your marketing strategies – that means mobile data.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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