Mobile devices are widening their slice of the local online search pie thanks to increased access to these devices and consumer preferences for this search method. In fact, the number of local searches conducted on mobile devices more than quadrupled between December 2011 and December 2012, with local searches on mobile devices accounting for 27 percent of all such queries.
This revelation is featured in a report recently released by the Local Search Association. The report, prepared by comScore, Inc., concludes that mobile is vastly outpacing personal computers because of the rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones. Because of this trend, local businesses must revisit their online marketing strategies and make adjustments that account for this shift.
Measuring the Mobile Migration
In sum, 27 percent of total Web traffic at the end of 2012 came from non-PC devices. One year earlier, that figure was just 6 percent.
That huge increase in traffic comes despite a more modest increase in the number of mobile users accessing local content. Those figures rose from 42 percent of U.S. mobile device users in 2011 to 48 percent in 2012.
And the Internet Yellow Pages app has become a valuable outlet for advertisers, in large part because its user base is attractive in several areas, namely age, income and monthly spending. Fifty-three percent of those users are ages 25-44, and 51 percent earn more than $100,000 a year. More than two-fifths of IYP app users make at least one mobile purchase every month.
“IYP mobile apps are a powerful tool for local businesses to reach ready-to-buy consumers,” said Local Search Association President Neg Norton. “As the market continues to evolve, IYP mobile apps represent an easy first step for local businesses to expand their integrated advertising efforts into the mobile space.”
Apps Beat Out Browsers on Local Search
Another big takeaway from the report is that consumers prefer apps to browsers when conducting local searches. These searches can include inquiries regarding maps, business directories, movie showtimes and restaurant reviews. At the end of 2012, 77 million smartphone owners used apps to visit local content, compared with just 69 million users who visited a mobile browser.
But while apps may have the edge, browsers can’t be ignored — especially when many consumers end up using both at different points.
“Growth in local mobile engagement, particularly via online directories and other local resources, presents a clear opportunity for local search companies to promote their innovative tools to connect businesses and consumers,” Norton said. “While consumers are showing a preference for apps over browsers, offerings on both platforms deserve attention and investment.”
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