Double-Digit Growth of Online and Mobile Local Search

Today we’re releasing new data from comScore that shows more people are turning to online and mobile platforms to find local business information.

This is welcome news for local search companies, which are investing with full-force in new ways to improve our approaches to digital and mobile search – both in terms of the advertising opportunities they offer local business clients and the experiences they provide consumers accessing.

Online Local Search Shows Strong Growth and Consumer Satisfaction

This year’s “State of Local Search” study found that local searches now account for 13% of all core search activity on top web search portals as of March 2011.

Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) and Local Search Sites:

  • IYPs and local search sites exhibited strong growth with 5.6 billion local searches in 2010, a 15% increase over 2009.
  • Brand recognition is a key driver of IYP searches. Approximately 58% of respondents who choose an IYP site first (DexKnows, SuperPages, Yellowbook, and do so  due to brand recognition and reputation, while 30%  chose an IYP site first because of its reputation for local business information.

Interestingly, the study determined that portal searches are more likely to conduct local searches as part of broad information gathering, while primary IYP searches more often conduct local searches to look for contact information with specific products and services in mind.

More than half of local business searchers choosing portal or IYP sites said they were highly satisfied and found success in their search experience – an indication of how well our industry is doing creating consumer-friendly offerings.

Additionally, online daily deal offers and discounts  emerged as an additional customer acquisition channel for local businesses. The  study found that primary IYP searchers were less likely to report purchasing online daily deal coupons for local businesses than business searchers on other sites (27 percent vs. 38 percent).

Mobile Search Skyrockets

Mobile local search also showed unprecedented growth this year. In January 2011, 77.1 million mobile subscribers accessed local content on a mobile device, up 34% from the previous year. The study found that local content users now account for 33% of mobile subscribers.

Top findings also include:

  • Strong growth for the number of local search users owning a GPS-capable handset, which grew from 78% to 87%.
  • Local content now dominates mobile usage behaviors, with subscribers increasingly turning to mobile for information on maps, weather, traffic, retail and other local content.
  • The ways that local content users access content via mobile is changing. App use for mobile content grew 34% last year, with 56% of respondents using apps for local content. Browsers lead in usage of local content with 73%, but dropped from 75% last year. Local content via SMS dropped to 25% from 30%.

comScore’s data illustrate the ongoing shift of consumers towards digital and mobile platforms for local business information. Our industry’s rapid embrace of these platforms, particularly in the past year through new partnership agreements, mobile app launches and other initiatives, will enable local businesses to connect with consumers in these increasingly popular locations.

Listen in on Webinar: July 20 at 2pm EDT

comScore and the Local Search Association will be presenting additional findings on usage and conumser experiences with online and mobile local business search activity from this study in a complimentary webinar, July 20th at 2pm EDT. Click here to register for the webinar.

13 Responses to “Double-Digit Growth of Online and Mobile Local Search”

  1. John Wheeler says:

    We love getting access to this kind of data to determine where to spend our ad budget, print and/or internet. Its getting harder to determine real value in this market as an insurance agency who always looks for ways to reach our market.

  2. You failed to mention that “IYP” or Internet Yellow Pages only accounts for 7% of primary search site usage for local business search survey, yet “Portal” searches (such as Google Bing, Yahoo and AOL) account for 74%! Even local search sites, such as Google maps, Bing maps and Yahoo! Local etc, account for more searches than IYP at 9%. Even though the growth rate maybe high, IYP accounts for the lowest portion of online local searches at 7%!

  3. Stephanie Hobbs says:

    Advertisers should consider the quality of leads that each of these sources drive, and certainly IYP users are ready to buy. Other studies show that about 8 out of 10 IYP users make a purchase or intend to make a purchase.
    For us, the key takeaway is that we don’t believe this is an either/or proposition for advertisers. Small business advertisers need to have a strategy for all media — including IYP, print Yellow Pages, search engine, print, social, and mobile — to be successful.

  4. John Braun says:

    It’s turning more toward mobile. Makes perfect sense. What do you leave the house with? Your keys and your phone. You always have the ability to search local with you.

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