ADOTAS – The Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo) revolution is here. With rapid rates of smartphone and tablet adoption, consumers are on the move, looking for information quickly and expecting relevant results on the go. In fact, 61 percent of smartphone users in a recent survey reported conducting local searches from a device.
Dramatic new findings about consumer behavior are revealed in a new study, the fifth annual 15miles/Localeze Local Search Study conducted by comScore. The data has huge implications for marketers across industries. Consider these statistics from the report:
• Tablet owners are the most active local searchers, with 64 percent of survey respondents indicating at least weekly use for local searches on the device.
• 49 percent of mobile and tablet users reported using apps for local business searches.
• 61 percent of online searchers consider local search results to be more relevant and 58 percent consider local search results to be trustworthier.
• Social network local business search usage has increased 67 percent since 2010.
• 60 percent of survey respondents reported usage of daily deals.
• 61 percent consider ratings and reviews an important factor in selecting a business.
The report reveals dramatic consumer migration to local online resources, accelerated adoption of mobile devices, and new challenges for online marketers of local, national and global brands. The SoLoMo revolution requires strategy and execution that leveragethis new reality. Are you ready?
While many interesting trends have emerged from the data, one of the most important for marketers is the fact that local listings are now viewed as the most relevant and trusted search results for consumers.
In fact, local search results were chosen nearly two to one over the natural (organic) search results. Most surprising was the fact that paid results appearing at the very top of the page, and along the right-hand rail scored lowest on both measures. According to this year’s findings, 61 percent of online searchers consider local search results to be more relevant, and 58 percent consider local search results to be most trustworthy.
Local search delivers highly relevant search results to the consumer. Relevancy means users can find the products and services they seek in a specific location, and businesses gain consumers who are ready to buy. For a local company looking for local customers or a national company steering customers to local storefronts, local search provides targeted messages to the consumer searching for a product or service in a particular area.
The report also reveals that a majority of local searches conducted on portal sites have shifted from specific business searches (business name) to non-specific business searches (category/keyword). Consumers have shifted from looking for particular listings to searching for local resources to determine where to buy products and services. This behavior shift was consistent across all local search platforms — e.g., local search sites, internet Yellow Pages, etc.
NAP (name, address and phone number) is still vital. Ensuring that your business’ NAP is listed correctly and consistently across multiple platforms like Google Places, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local Listing Center is the foundation of a successful local search campaign. At the same time, changing buyer behavior signals the need for businesses to move beyond simple NAP listing optimization. A successful local search strategy requires marketers to augment these activities with more robust content development and distribution.
Ratings and Reviews
Ratings and reviews are the digital equivalent of “word-of-mouth” referrals and are probably one of the most important local search elements. The quality and quantity of ratings and review contribute to how often the search engines display your listing or your location. They are to local search what “backlinks” are to SEO, creating credibility and authority for your business online. Encourage your customers to write short reviews.
Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites are now critical elements of an online presence. Sixty-three percent of social networkers are more likely to use a local business if the business has information available on a social networking site, according to the Localeze/15miles study. For companies whose customers are increasingly using social media, as we all are, devoting some time and resources to this effort can pay off at the local level, both for marketing promotions and for customer service.
Local Online Display
Online display advertising can be beneficial for generating leads by increasing the awareness of your products and services. While business listing management and local paid search often deliver customers based on where your store is located, display can help make the case for why they should do business with you. Display can also help support other marketing efforts with a consistent, targeted message. Consider adding local display to your campaign.
It’s a Revolution
Search engines remain the primary consumer resource for local business search. Rising smartphone and tablet adoption and an increase in mobile local search has created an ever-growing demand for time-sensitive, on-the-go local business information. Is your