The Growing Importance of International Mobile Search
For a long time now English has served as the lingua franca, or common language, of the Internet. English is still the most commonly used language online but it still represents only just over a quarter of total usage.
The growth rates of various foreign languages also far outstrip the growth in English usage, which may be heading for saturation point.
Over the past decade the number of English speakers online has grown by just over 300 percent. Compare this to Spanish (807 percent), Chinese (1,479 percent) or Arabic (a massive increase of more than 2,500 percent).
These figures represent the constantly increasing rates of Internet penetration and accessibility in developing markets such as Latin America and Asia. For now English remains on top of the pile, but foreign language marketing already represents a hugely important growth area in e-commerce and digital marketing.
Many businesses have recognized the importance of issues such as localization and international SEO. The Internet is a constantly shifting battleground, however, and the way people search for information has been undergoing a significant change.
Going for Mobile Gold
The 2012 Olympic Games provided a unique insight into the increasing popularity of international mobile search. Events such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl might draw international audiences to greater or lesser degrees, but the 2012 Summer Olympics, featuring participants from more than 200 different nations, had truly global appeal.
Google issued a report on the London 2012 games that reveals some fascinating insights into mobile search behaviour. The first week of the games saw a tenfold increase in mobile search for related terms compared to the previous week. One explanation is the 'multi-screen' nature of the event, meaning the audience has a tendency to watch events unfold on one device (be it a TV, desktop computer or screen in a bar) while simultaneously searching for related information on a mobile device.