Every marketer will tell you that they believe that local search listings are crucial to the wellbeing of a business.
To be able to capture the lion’s share of the local market, businesses have to ensure that they are not only visible, but prominent in their local area. In short what they should aspire to be is the go-to business in their own locality.
The only problem for business has been knowing which local listings are the most effective.
Well, there’s good news on that front: research from the good old U.S.A has thrown some light on the numbers that underpin local search, and the results have proved to be intriguing yet enlightening. Now obviously this has to be taken in context as the study has an American bias, but none the less, the results of this particular study – the 2012 Local Search Usage Study, arguably apply as much over this side of the water as they do over there.
The 5th annual Local Search Usage Report was jointly commissioned and presented by local search marketing and listings firms, 15 Miles and Localeze. The survey targeted over 4,000 users of local business internet searchers. It was broken down into 3 distinct, but interrelated categories: internet Yellow Pages, local search sites and portal search sites. Two of the study’s conclusions were self-evident and could have been predicted without the research: mobile search is a phenomenon, and the local/social daily deals market is thriving. Of most interest, however, was the finding that local searchers believed that local listings always produce the most relevant and trusted results.
So, what new information did the survey come up with? What can businesses learn about the local listings in relation to the local market?
2012 Local Search Usage Study findings:
- 61% of all smartphone owners use their phones for local business searches
- 51% use smartphones rather than tablet devices, but tablets are the clear favourite for users because of their ease of use and larger size. Users feel rightly or wrongly that tablet devices will deliver more relevant information.
- 72% of smartphone users have made a local purchase shortly after the search: 86% of tablet users did this.
- 32 percent of purchases were greater than $100. 10% were greater than $500.
- 15% of respondents used social media sites to find local businesses, up from 10% in 2010. 91% of these social media queries occurred on Facebook unsurprisingly.
- Most daily deal users return to the trusted businesses they have already dealt with. Additionally, they have or intend to purchase multiple daily deals from the same site in the future.
- Over 80% of users of Groupon and Living Social daily deals were completely satisfied with the experience.
- 52% of the respondents use consumer review sites to find local services. 45% have submitted reviews. 55% of those who have submitted reviews in the last 30 days submitted more than 1 review.
- When searching online for local businesses, basic business Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) information is still the most critical to search data.
- 61% felt local results were the most relevant and 58% felt they were the most trustworthy. Only 30 percent of respondents preferred organic search results, and 10% preferred paid search results.
- 72% are more likely to buy from a local business if a social media connection/ friend recommends it. However, 63% are likely to use a local business if a business is active in social media: this figure is down by 6% on the previous year’s figures.
- More local business searches are conducted without a specific business in mind, once again showing that more research is being done online early in the search process.