As mobile plays an increasingly central role in the local search experience, we need better insights into how consumers are using non-PC devices to find neighborhood business information so that local search marketers can leverage trends in the space.
I’m pleased to announce that today the Local Search Association is releasing our new Local Mobile Search report, prepared by comScore, which looks at the evolving mobile environment in the U.S. and the growing role of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices in the local search experience, highlighting trends in online directory and IYP usage and demographics.
The report shows a continuing shift of mobile usage among consumers, signaling an opportunity for local businesses to re-evaluate where they devote their online ad spending. Most notably, traffic to online directories and other local resources from non-PC devices more than quadrupled in 2012, reaching 27% share of total web traffic in December 2012 from 6% share in December 2011. The percentage growth of page hits on online directories and other local resources from non-PC devices grew at more than double the 8% growth rate in total web traffic on non-PC devices in 2012.
The report also found that 48% of U.S. mobile users used their devices to access local content in December 2012, up from 42% in December 2011.
Internet Yellow Pages Accessed by Highly Desirable Mobile Users
The report found that Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) apps are a powerful tool for local businesses to reach ready-to-buy consumers, since they are used by a desirable demographic for local businesses looking to attract new customers:
- More than half of all IYP app users (53%) are age 25-44.
- IYP app users are 51% more likely to have an income greater than $100,000 versus all mobile phone users.
- IYP app users are more prolific shoppers than average smartphone users. 41% of IYP users make at least one on-phone purchase per month, versus 19 percent of all smartphone users.
- IYP app users spend considerably more in on-phone purchases than all smartphone users, with 10% of IYP app users spending a monthly average of more than $500 on on-phone purchases, versus 4% of all smartphone users.
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.
Local Searchers Prefer Apps to Browser
As a growing number of consumers use mobile to access local content such as business directories, classified ads, maps, and movie information, they are showing a preference for applications over browsers.
- Approximately 77 million smartphone owners relied on applications to visit local content in December 2012, up 22 percent since December 2011.
- About 69 million users relied on browsers in December 2012, up 12 percent since December 2011.
Nonetheless, strong usage and growth in browsers demonstrates that both platforms require our attention and investment.
Online Traffic Patterns Rapidly Changing
The report shows that rapid growth of connected devices is drastically changing how consumers access the Internet. In 2012, growth in the number of PC users accessing the Internet flat-lined for the first time. By contrast, the share of web traffic from non-PC devices including smartphones and tablets more than doubled to 15% in December 2012 versus 7% in December 2011.
The number of non-PC devices is also growing rapidly. More than one in three (37.3%) of all U.S. smartphone users also owned other connected devices at the end of 2012, including tablets (28.8%), eReaders (10.0%) and other handhelds like portable gaming devices (4.1%), providing consumers with additional ways to access the Internet.
Our report demonstrates that the media landscape is continuing to diversify as more consumers begin using smartphones, tablets and other connected devices in their daily lives. In response, local businesses should increasingly pursue mobile solutions as part of their integrated local advertising strategy, whether it’s introducing a smartphone and tablet-friendly website, or taking advantage of IYP mobile apps.