March 22, 2011, 4:35 PM

49% of heavy mobile web users have made a purchase via a mobile device

And 30% who use mobile search are inclined to select a paid ad, study finds.

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30% of mobile searchers say they are more likely to click on a paid search ad.

49% of consumers who use the mobile web at least once a week made a purchase on their mobile device in the past six months, according to a new study. That number is very high compared with other studies, which likely is a result of this study focusing exclusively on heavy users of the mobile web, who are more comfortable using all kinds of sites and apps. Most other studies are broader, surveying Internet users or mobile phone users.

The study of 502 weekly mobile web users was conducted by ROI Research Inc. for marketing firm Performics, which specializes in, among other things, paid search.

77% of respondents used mobile search more than five times in the last month, and 30% of mobile searchers say they are more likely to click on a sponsored search result than a natural search result, finds the 2011 Mobile Search Insights Study.

“Mobile paid search has surged as a percentage of overall paid search spending for our clients, particularly over the last 15 months,” says Daina Middleton, CEO of Performics. “We expect March to be the double-digit tipping point, when mobile paid search will represent at least 10% of paid search impressions for all Performics clients.”

Among respondents to the survey, 63% say access to mobile search has changed the way they gather information; 32% say they use mobile search more than search engines on their computers, the study finds. And 82% say they use mobile search to connect to online retailers.

People are embracing mobile search in many areas of their lives, the study suggests. Use of mobile search at home topped the list with 81% reporting evening use, 80% reporting weekend use and 59% reporting use before work. 61% are using mobile search at work.

“People reported significant use while commuting, 47%; attending social events, 56%; and running errands, 74%. This data proves that growing smartphone adoption is permeating all aspects of everyday life,” Middleton says. “Advertisers still have an opportunity to get in early when it comes to mobile marketing and integrating marketing across screens.”

The study also found that of mobile searchers:

  • 84% look for local retailer information (phone, address, hours).
  • 73% find a specific manufacturer or product web site.
  • 68% search for the best price for a product or service.
  • 63% search before purchasing offline in a store or from a catalog.
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