Search is King

February 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Quixey in Uncategorized

How do you find the majority of your apps? Word of mouth, browsing app catalogs, top 10 lists… search?

It turns out, 85% of app downloads are discovered through search. Over the past year, search has become increasingly popular. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

So why is everybody searching?

Search is the ideal form of discovery. Browsing and recommendation engines just don’t cut it.

You would never spend hours browsing through a directory looking for the right website. That would be insane! That would be like choosing to use the 1998 version of Yahoo over today’s version of Google.

Browsing doesn’t make sense for websites, similarly, it doesn’t make sense for apps.

When you’re looking for an app to “track heart rate and blood pressure,” it doesn’t make sense to browse through every medical app. No, I don’t want a menstrual calendar, pill identifier or medical terminology app…I want an app to “track my heart rate and blood pressure.”

Similarly,  it doesn’t make sense to spend hours browsing through every health and fitness app to find a “crossfit workout trainer” app. There aren’t even any crossfit apps listed in the directory. It makes more sense to simply search “crossfit workout trainer.”

And don’t even get me started on recommendation engines – they’re just as terrible as browsing. Never in a million years would you stare at your screen and wait for your computer to magically recommend the perfect website. That would be like relying on StumbleUpon as your primary way to find information on the Internet. You would have to be crazy.

If I’m looking for an app that can “find movie times,” it makes no sense to wait for my phone to magically recommend me an app to “find movie times.”

Recommendations have their place, but not as a primary method of discovery.

When you ask yourself,  “is there an app that can do x?” the obvious thing to do is just search for it. Search allows you to find exactly what you want, when you want it.

Ultimately, 85% of downloaded apps are discovered through search, because search is the optimal form of discovery. With an app for everything, it’s up to you: What do you want to do?


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