Google implemented a new policy last month that had the entire digital publishing world take notice. If a website has a mobile friendly design it would have a higher placement in the search engine results and older websites would plummet in the rankings. This is not a decision that Google made lightly, primarily because for the first time ever mobile search has outweighed desktop.
The company says that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” Google declined to elaborate further on what the other countries were, how recently this change happened or what the relative volumes of PC and mobile search queries are now.
When it comes to smartphone and desktop usage, the digital publishing industry doesn’t really have any concrete data. The only information that has been available was from Comscore who recently released a report and graphic. They said in the last quarter of 2014 US mobile queries (tablets + smartphones) were roughly 29% of total search volumes. This is across the entire industry. Apparently this information in Google’s eyes is totally incorrect and smartphone search has grown significantly.
In order to tap into the growing smartphone segment Google has given publishers and e-reader companies a new reason to use Adwords. There are new options to include picture-heavy ads that show users a gallery before directing them to a website, and e-book ads that sandwich together availability, prices, user reviews, and pictures into a compact mobile format
Smartphones are clearly the way that people search for a new e-book or read reviews. It is critically important that if you sell digital content such as audiobooks or e-books that a mobile friendly design is paramount.