The world is going mobile…we all know that because we talk about it all the time. Make sure your website is designed for mobile access so you don’t lose customers, make sure you’ve engaged mobile security practices so you don’t get hacked, use the correct apps so you remain productive while mobile and out of the office…it’s a mobile, mobile, mobile world! Interestingly though, for all that our mobile devices are capable of doing, the number one consumer activity on mobile devices, as discovered in the Neustar Localeze and 15 Miles Sixth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study, is SEARCH. It’s not talking, it’s not playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends, it’s not adding food pics to your Facebook page….it’s SEARCH. For small businesses, this is a significant finding that cannot be ignored!
Visitors searching navigation sites via mobile devices has increased 25 percent in the last nine months and nearly 86 million people are now seeking local business information on their mobile devices in the United States alone. Of that 86 million, more than half are using their mobile devices because they are on the move. What does this mean for the local small business? Two things: 1) Consumers are most likely looking for you right now and 2) You’d better make sure your local listing is accurate and optimized to get people to your door.
“What we can clearly see is that the local search market is maturing – what we previously described as a Social, Local and Mobile (SoLoMo) revolution is now embedded in consumer behavior,” said Jeff Beard, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Neustar Localeze. “Tablet adoption is growing at a blistering pace: It took smartphones nearly a decade to reach 40 million users, while that number was crossed only two years after the iPad arrived. This market is set to keep growing, and businesses need to fundamentally rethink the way local customers are going to find them.”
Here is an infographic that shares additional results from the survey:
As you can see, consumers are searching for a variety of business types. While pharmacies, doctors and hospitals lead the pack, close behind are restaurants and various other retail operations, including clothing. Furthermore, the survey revealed that successful local business searches conducted via mobile phones are most likely to result in an in-store visit when compared to the outcomes of searches conducted on other devices ( PC’s, for instance). While those searching via mobile phone or tablet had a tendency to conduct multiple searches as opposed to those using PC’s, they were also more likely to make a purchase as a result of their last search; 78 percent for mobile phone users and 77% for those using a tablet.
“The greatest impact of the Internet is to offer access to information on a global scale, yet it’s equally important in driving business at the neighborhood level,” said Gregg Stewart, President, 15miles. “Consumers now expect accurate, easy-to-absorb information on local businesses on a variety of computing platforms, and those companies that can adapt to this new world have the most to gain.”
Another very interesting discovery in the data was the fact that application-based local search nearly doubled in just the past two years, which significantly outpaced the growth of the SMS and browser markets. 35 percent of those using applications to search use Google Maps. Turning to the social media side, a staggering 92 percent of those searching for local business information on social networking sites from all devices used Facebook for that purpose in 2012.
It’s quite clear that if you are a small business with a brick and mortar location or a small business that services a local region or area, you NEED to ensure that your business is listed on the local search sites. This may not be enough, though. Due to the rapid increase of mobile searches and expected increase in use of applications to search, you may need to up your game and invest in a service, such as Neustar Localeze or 15 Miles, to help you optimize the way your business is listed to ensure that you appear to those searching in an effort to get them in the door and spending dollars!
Is your business currently listed to be found in local searches? If so, what kind of impact has it had on your business? If not…what are you waiting for? Much like that ‘internet’ thing, this ‘mobile’ thing has caught on and it’s only going to increase in popularity until it becomes the ‘norm’.