Mobile search is indisputably a potent way to generate value. Consumers find what they want; marketers gain traffic by providing relevant offers and advertising; and mobile operators and service providers capture increased revenue as a result of the increase in mobile content purchases by consumers.
However, the much more lucrative business opportunity may be in combining search, personalization, and recommendation (modeled on Amazon – this technology suggests content on the basis of the individual users past preferences or on the basis of what a users peers consumed, or both). The end-game is to boost content sales by providing users personalized and relevant results – as well as the tools to discover other cool content they might not have otherwise known existed.
I refer to this as a kind of mobile content triple-play and (after interviewing some 40 C-level execs at search, discovery and personalization companies – as well as mobile operators – for my own report on the topic) I see evidence that the mobile content industry is ripe for it. In fact, many these companies have told me they fear mobile search – particularly the big-name brands like Google. Content owners want users to come directly to their sites and not be directed by search engine results to explore their competitors portals. In a D2C play, they tell me, its all about improving the accessibility and discoverability of their content.