The Local Search Association (LSA) in conjunction with Comscore released a report on May 2, 2013 that presented the statistics for local search in 2012.  The study found that local search via mobile devices continues to grow at an alarming rate, and more than quadrupled its usage in 2012 from 2011. The widespread adoption of local search on mobile devices should prompt local businesses to assess where they allocate their online advertising budget.
The chart below depicts the explosion of mobile search in just a years’ time. In 2011 local mobile search was just a 6% share of total web traffic. In 2012 that number more than quadrupled to 27% of total web traffic, which clearly substantiates the importance of the mobile platform for local businesses. Not only is important for local businesses to have a mobile platform (website or application), but to have a creative marketing strategy for mobile devices as well.
The report also examined trends in the local search experience and found that activity in online directories (i.e. search engines such as Google and Bing) and Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) are certainly trending upward. In fact, the study found that IYP app users represent a desirable demographic for local businesses looking to attract new customers. The demographics of IYP app users found in the study are as follows:

  • 53% of IYP app users are ages 25-44
  • IYP app users are 51% more likely to have an income greater than $100,000 versus all smartphone users
  • 41% of IYP app users make at least one on-phone purchase per month, versus 19% of all smartphone users
  • 10% of IYP app users spend a monthly average of $500 in on-phone purchases, versus 4% of all smartphone users

App vs. Browser

The question most local businesses will be asking themselves is: do I utilize a mobile app or mobile website? Based on the data, the more preferred platform for consumers is the mobile app. However, mobile browsers also have a large user base that searches for local content, which makes the case for local businesses to utilize both platforms.  The Chart below shows that local mobile searchers prefer mobile apps to mobile browsers
The mobile web (app or browser) is upon us, which means local businesses should be engaging customers with mobile-friendly websites and creative mobile advertising strategies. The shift is still early enough for local businesses to take advantage of this huge opportunity.