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Google CEO: Local-Mobile Search Grew 50% Last Year

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Google Maps was introduced in 2005. And sometime before that, Google had started to offer localized results in search. Yet it wasn’t until the introduction and mainstream adoption of the iPhone and Android that Google began to focus in a very serious way on location and online-to-offline consumer behavior.

Listening to the Google earnings call last week, I was struck by CEO Sundar Pichai’s emphasis on local and local-mobile search:

I wouldn’t underestimate the focus we have on local. Just to give you a sense, local mobile searches are growing faster than just mobile searches overall, and have increased by almost 50% in the last year.

So for us, that’s an important focus area and Maps plays a big role there. So we recently announced Local campaigns, which is a new campaign type specifically designed to drive foot traffic to local businesses, right. And it’s going to roll out in the coming months. And so that is a big focus.

(emphasis added)

He later added, “We are being patient here because [of] the opportunity in local search, it’s a big opportunity and we are focused there.”

Anyone reading this is probably already a believer. But I continue to marvel at the way that many marketers still treat “local” (O2O) as though it’s a niche. For example, I participated in SMX East last week. There was only one explicitly “local” session — though “local” was in the background in discussions of cross-channel measurement, offline attribution and mobile in general.

Between the SMB market and the dollar volume of in-store/offline consumer product and service transactions, the vast majority of which are influenced by digital, “local” is many orders of magnitude larger than e-commerce. As I’ve said in the past: it’s trillions vs. billions.

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