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BIA/Kelsey: Local Search via Mobile Grows

Recently, we’ve talked about the growing importance of mobile and social media platforms in the local search space.

Now a new study from BIA/Kelsey and ConStat shows significant increases in the number of local product and service searches conducted via mobile devices. Interestingly, local searches on mobile devices now exceed out-of-market searches by a wide margin.

According to the October study, 18.5% of those surveyed searched the mobile Internet for products or services in their local area, up from 15.6% in 2008. Additionally, 15.9% obtained information about movies or entertainment, while 13.3% obtained information about restaurants or bars. This compares to the 11.1% of consumers who searched the mobile Internet for products or services outside their local area.

The study also shows large growth in mobile social networking: 16.7% of those surveyed connected with a social network such as MySpace or Facebook on their mobile devices, up from 9.6% in 2008.

These rapid increases in local searches via mobile and mobile social networking are driven primarily by the proliferation of smartphones in the U.S. market, the study found. The report also noted that growth in mobile-optimized websites, the rapid implementation of the Google Android OS mobile software, and Google’s planned acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob are driving mobile Internet use and advertising growth.

As this data clearly shows, small businesses and local search directories must embrace the mobile and social media space in order to adapt to changing user habits and benefit from new growth opportunities. We’ll continue to keep our eye out for good examples of Yellow Pages companies taking advantage of these exciting new mediums and share them here.

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