Today, we are releasing results from our annual “Local Media Tracking Study,” which provides key insights into the reach of various local media sources. In this first of two blog posts, I discuss results related to local mobile usage and overall local media trends; in the second post, I do a deep dive into results on Yellow Pages usage.
Our study, which was conducted by Burke, Inc. throughout 2012, showed that while U.S. adults increasingly turned to online sources for local business information, the most significant growth was in use of mobile phones/smartphones and netbooks/tablets for local search. The research reinforced the results from our “Local Mobile Search Report,” which illustrated a continuing shift to mobile usage among consumers in the local space, at the expense of stationary computers and laptops.
Results show consumers are best reached through an integrated advertising approach that leverages both online and offline media. The study found that as the number of local online media increases (Ratings & Reviews and Daily Deals were added to the survey in 2012), both online and offline media continue to attract sizable consumer audiences.
Here are my key takeaways from the above results:
- Consumers are going mobile and businesses need to follow. In order to keep up with consumers’ increasing use and affinity for mobile devices when searching for and purchasing products and services, it’s important for local businesses to ensure their online efforts support key mobile devices and introduce smartphone- and tablet-friendly websites in order to remain competitive and attract new customers.
- For those on a budget, businesses should focus on making their websites mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive before considering mobile applications. However, mobile applications certainly have strategic advantages and may be better suited in some circumstances, such as if the website is repeatedly and/or heavily used as part of a service being provided.
- Local businesses should strive for an integrated, wide-ranging presence across online and offline media in order to reach their target consumers wherever they search, keeping in mind that offline media continue to generate high results when compared to new online media. As an example, see my next post on the study’s Yellow Pages result.