Today we’re releasing new data from comScore that shows more people are turning to online and mobile platforms to find local business information.
This is welcome news for local search companies, which are investing with full-force in new ways to improve our approaches to digital and mobile search – both in terms of the advertising opportunities they offer local business clients and the experiences they provide consumers accessing.
Online Local Search Shows Strong Growth and Consumer Satisfaction
This year’s “State of Local Search” study found that local searches now account for 13% of all core search activity on top web search portals as of March 2011.
Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) and Local Search Sites:
- IYPs and local search sites exhibited strong growth with 5.6 billion local searches in 2010, a 15% increase over 2009.
- Brand recognition is a key driver of IYP searches. Approximately 58% of respondents who choose an IYP site first (DexKnows, SuperPages, Yellowbook, and YP.com) do so due to brand recognition and reputation, while 30% chose an IYP site first because of its reputation for local business information.
Interestingly, the study determined that portal searches are more likely to conduct local searches as part of broad information gathering, while primary IYP searches more often conduct local searches to look for contact information with specific products and services in mind.
More than half of local business searchers choosing portal or IYP sites said they were highly satisfied and found success in their search experience – an indication of how well our industry is doing creating consumer-friendly offerings.
Additionally, online daily deal offers and discounts emerged as an additional customer acquisition channel for local businesses. The study found that primary IYP searchers were less likely to report purchasing online daily deal coupons for local businesses than business searchers on other sites (27 percent vs. 38 percent).
Mobile Search Skyrockets
Mobile local search also showed unprecedented growth this year. In January 2011, 77.1 million mobile subscribers accessed local content on a mobile device, up 34% from the previous year. The study found that local content users now account for 33% of mobile subscribers.
Top findings also include:
- Strong growth for the number of local search users owning a GPS-capable handset, which grew from 78% to 87%.
- Local content now dominates mobile usage behaviors, with subscribers increasingly turning to mobile for information on maps, weather, traffic, retail and other local content.
- The ways that local content users access content via mobile is changing. App use for mobile content grew 34% last year, with 56% of respondents using apps for local content. Browsers lead in usage of local content with 73%, but dropped from 75% last year. Local content via SMS dropped to 25% from 30%.
comScore’s data illustrate the ongoing shift of consumers towards digital and mobile platforms for local business information. Our industry’s rapid embrace of these platforms, particularly in the past year through new partnership agreements, mobile app launches and other initiatives, will enable local businesses to connect with consumers in these increasingly popular locations.
Listen in on Webinar: July 20 at 2pm EDT
comScore and the Local Search Association will be presenting additional findings on usage and conumser experiences with online and mobile local business search activity from this study in a complimentary webinar, July 20th at 2pm EDT. Click here to register for the webinar.