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Right Here, Right Now: When It Comes to Questions, Mobile Trumps the Desktop

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Smartphone users increasingly expect more of their mobile devices than they do their desktops, including timely feedback on local businesses and immediate access to information about places of interest, according to a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Ask.com.

In addition to demonstrating that mobile users expect immediate answers from their mobile devices, the results suggest that people desire more than just listings and standard reviews while on-the-go. Once un-tethered, mobile users are also highly interested in answers to subjective, time-sensitive questions around businesses and places of interest, such as "how long is the wait for a table?"

Mobile Users Have More Questions

* 66 percent of mobile users said they are more likely to ask timely questions when they are not in front of their computer.
* More than one-quarter (30%) of smart phone users leverage their mobile phones to access the Web more than they use their computer to access the same information.
* Mobile apps that deliver specific information and services are on the rise, with 69 percent of smart phone users having downloaded at least one application on their phone.

Local Info Should be Fresh

The study indicates that recency is important for a significant percentage of mobile users when it comes to reviews of local businesses.

* 40 percent of smart phone users indicated they are more influenced by users' opinions given within the last 24 hours than users' opinions provided a month or so ago.
* This number significantly increases in the "immediate gratification" 18-24 age bracket, jumping from 40 percent to 67 percent.

People are also interested in information beyond what is available in a static review-moving from historical information to real-time activity when choosing their destination on-the-go.

* While 55 percent reported interest in searching for local reviews on a mobile device, 68 percent reported a desire to know whether a restaurant is busy at that moment. Population density impacted this concern, with people in the Northeast being much more likely to assign importance to the size of the crowd (76 percent) than those in the Midwest (61 percent).
* 63 percent reported the current tone of the crowd was important when choosing their destination.

Immediacy is Critical

By a landslide, smart phone users indicated that when looking for information on their mobile device they need it immediately (81 percent overall).

* The 18-24 year old age group is especially impatient, reporting they need immediate information from their mobile devices 100 percent of the time.

Connect and Inform

Be it curiosity, voyeurism, or an emergency, mobile users want to know more about what's happening in their immediate surroundings. 40 percent of smart phone users wished they could have found out more about what was happening when they saw a crowd. Combine this statistic with the fact mobile users want immediate, real-time information while on the go, and the research indicates an opportunity for mobile services that deliver up-to-the-minute local information reported by other mobile users nearby.

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Tags: mobile apps  apps