Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Local searches dominated by mobile and social

A report by MediaPost claims that 45% of consumers in the US don't have a specific business in mind when conducting a local search online. According to recent research by 15miles, more local business searchers begin with general keyword terms in search queries. They have products and services in mind, but they are not sure where to make the purchase.

On the other hand, 56% of social and 60% of mobile users are more likely to search with specific businesses in mind because they are already outside the home looking for a nearby business to fill a need. As a result of this activity, the study points to a lack of sophisticated search functions in social networks for the differences in behaviour.

Additional research by comScore identified the power of local, mobile and social search among consumers, with 70% of survey respondents using search engines, online Yellow Pages or social networks as their primary sources of local business information. Local search engine queries continued to increase at a strong rate with 9% year-over-year growth.

By measuring consumer behavior and the impact on decisions, the study reveals insights that are necessary to influence marketers' search strategies. Key factors included:
* Online search is the preferred method for information about local businesses, with 70% of consumers citing online sites as their primary source.
* Search engines are most popular, but they are not growing as fast as other media.
* Local searchers are more apt to buy.
* Print is declining, but it still holds value for today's consumers as a secondary source.
* With emerging media on the rise, a diverse media mix must now include social and mobile marketing.

Consumers who use social networks and mobile smartphones are more likely to use and write reviews. More than 40% have submitted between 2-5 reviews in the past 30 days. In addition, 78% of social networkers and 71% of mobile users consider consumer ratings and reviews important in making their purchase selections.

Of those participating in the survey, 81% believe it's important for local businesses to respond to questions and complaints on social sites; 78% want special offers, promotions and information about events; and 66% believe that company photos are important.

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