Local Search, Part II: comScore Raises the Microscope on the Local Targeting Macrocosm

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In an interview with James Lamberti, the SVP for comScore Marketing Solutions, details of the newly released study on the local/yellow page search market were discussed. The study is the second in a two-part series that analyzes the growing consumer trend of researching local information online. The first study analyzed all local search behavior, while this analysis focuses on Internet Yellow Pages searches that return business directory listings. These searches occur on the Local sections of major search sites (e.g. Yahoo! Local), or on business directory listing sites (e.g. Verizon SuperPages).

Lamberti also said that what was emerging was an understanding that local search was “occasion-based”. Besides double box and local search, a third category is city or regional search where people are looking for restaurant, clubs, shopping etc—a site like Citysearch is a good example.

This analysis revealed that 68 million U.S. Internet users performed an IYP search online in July. This represents a 46 percent increase versus a year ago. When analyzing the total share of IYP searches, which by their nature have local intent, comScore’s data reveals that Yahoo! Sites and Verizon SuperPages garnered the largest share, with 23.9 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively. Google Sites ranked third in IYP searches, capturing 12.5 percent, followed by Yellowpages.com with 12.0 percent.

Both double box (what and where) and local search box approaches are growing. However, IYP is growing at 23% and local search is growing at a 28% clip. But what is also interesting is the marketing share of the three major search engines:

1. Yahoo 13.3%
2. MSN 12.9%
3. Google 9.2%

This is certainly interesting in that, unlike general search market share, Yahoo and MSN are doing better then Google. As stated above, local search is growing faster than general search, so maybe the consensus in the business press that Yahoo and MSN can’t get any traction against Google is somewhat overstated.

It seems the advantage that Yahoo and MSN have is related to having register users, the information of which allows both to deliver better local/specific search results. If you look at Google’s newest version of their search bar, they are trying to do much of the same things without asking actual demographics. But there is no question that being a portal with registered users gives Yahoo and MSN the edge for local searching.

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