One of today’s fun communications tools is the very informative infographic. We created one for the survey based on three of the study’s main trends related to local search listings, mobile and social search. Here we will focus on these trends using the Infographic to illustrate them.
Trend #1: Local Listings Most Relevant and Trusted Search Results
As the first section of the Infographic illustra tes, an average of 60.5% of local business searchers do not believe paid results to be as relevant o r trustworthy as local results. Local search results were chosen nearly 2 to 1 over the second selected natural search results; traditionally termed "organic results."
Most surprisingly, paid results appearing at the top of the search results page and along the right side of the page scored lowest on both measures.
We discovered that enhanced d ata such as category, service and products carried are more important than ever as almost half (49%) of local searches are conducted without a specific business in mind. All the more reasons why our national brand and channel partner clients trust management of their business listings identities to Localeze.
Just as importantly, ba sic business information, like Name, Address and Phone Number are still considered the most critical search data – our survey shows these in the 64-67% range versus ratings and online promos, for example, in the 34-35% range.
Trend #2: Explosion of Mobile, Tablets Shapes Local Search & Buying Behavior
Our second key trend uncovered in the study was that mobile, and specifically tablets, are reshaping local sea rch and buying behavior.
Smartphone adoption continues to rise and has reached 42% of all mobile phones in the U.S . Additionally 61% of mobile phone users use apps for local searches.
Tablets are holding their own when it comes to local search. That is because they are being used in conjunction with other media like TV, radio and PCs for on the go research on local services and products. In fact, the survey shows that 38% of tablet owners feel they can find more complete info versus 25% on a mobile device. In addition, 64% used their tablets to search local business information at least once a week.
As tablets grow in popularity (consumers own 60 million tablets today!), marketers need to pay close attention. Usage behaviors for tablet users versus mobile phone users differ in two ways.
1) Mobile phone users seek information on the go in a more abbreviated version
2) Tablet users want more complete information in an easy to use format that is less expensive than traditional computing platforms (PC/laptop).
Making listings complete and accurate across these new portals is more vital than ever to ensure that brands and businesses are being found in local search.
Trend #3: – New Methods for Finding Local Business Information Including Social and Daily Deals
The third trend focused on the stunning rise of social media and daily deals and the introduction of location-based services.
Social network local business search has jumped 67% since 2010 and 35% of individuals that primarily use social networks for local search are now doing so on a daily basis. The most popular portal for conducting a local search was Facebook at 91% with Twitter a distant second at 37%.
As the social media giants continue to evolve their use of location this will grow the percentage of local searcher s who use social media to conduct searches.
And going hand-in-hand with social is the explosion of daily deals. While there has been recent speculation that daily deals are on the decline, 60% of our survey respondents reported usage of daily deals.
In fact, the 88% that use Groupon and the 86% that use Living Social say they are highly satisfied with their purchases. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents also revealed that they have or plan to purchase daily deals in the future.
Reviews were another interesting focus of the survey this year and we found that an increasing number of local business searchers expect to find consumer reviews online.
By ensuring that your core data, as well as enhanced content, is in our repository you will best enable reviews from a variety of sources to attach themselves to your listings.
Intel from the Localeze database
Localeze ahead of the curve in Data Intelligence:
Our Data Intelligence team in Orem, UT has been working hard to get our clients’ data in tip top shape so that our almost 150 Search Platform partners can consume and display Localeze’s data on their platforms.
Sean Sperry, Product Manager, Distribution told us “Data in its raw form, from a source or as a signal, often lacks all the information needed to be useful in search. The addition of contextual information provides the necessary pieces to organize, identify, rank, and score business listings. The processes that provide this context make up the “Intelligence Layer” of our identity creation.“
Here are two of the eight contextual pieces that make up our Identity Creation Engine.
• Linking chains (separate records that we link and give standardized names, classifications, and
URLs). This system is maintained as new or defunct chains locations are identified.
• Adding classification to listings that did not have classification from the source. This requires a
system to identify and prioritize terms to accurately classify businesses. The system benefits from
continual fine-tuning and adding new terms that are used in business names.
• Organizing business name information from its raw form.
• Postal Coding and Geo-Coding of addresses and providing the precision levels of those address
• Providing a phone connect flag to indicate if a phone is connected or not.
• A confidence score that is an amalgamation of several flags to indicate the confidence level that
the business is open and active.
• Addition verification pieces from our community verification process.
• A full ontology of keyword and where those terms fit within the complete categorization structure.
All of this rich information helps our search platform partners use the most relevant data and provides flexibility in how they organize the data to fit their needs. Based on the Local Search Usage study, we know that consumers are searching more for categories, than for an actual business name, so it is important to get data into the hands of a company who can optimize it for distribution.
Our Guest Expert Says
As Senior Director of Telecommunications and Mobile Solutions for comScore, Gillian Heltai works with top telecommunications companies to analyze the web behavior of their users, size and evaluate their addressable market, and guide them in their digital strategies.
With comScore since 2005, she has been heavily involved in the Local Search Usage Study for the past five years. Based on her wealth of historical perspective to share and deep industry knowledge, she was a natural for our Guest Expert column.
Q: Gillian, as you know this is the 5th year of the Local Search Usage Study but the first year that Localeze has been a co-sponsor. Can you give our readers a brief history of the study, how it is conducted and the trends that you see have seen changing most significantly over the years?
A: The first wave of this study was conducted in spring 2007 in conjunction with TMP/15miles. That study had the same essential objective we have today – to understand the online space as it relates to consumer’s interaction with local businesses. Methodology basics are also largely unchanged – every year we interview 3,000+ local business searchers about their experiences, expectations and outcomes, and complement that analysis with a variety of relevant comScore behavioral data.
There are a few trends that we have chronicled since the study’s inception. Most notably, the relationship between online and print in the consumers’ local business search. In 2007, nearly one third of local business searchers identified print yellow pages as their primary go-to source for local business information – that has fallen from 1-out-of-3 to 1-out-of-5. Meanwhile, on the flip side, we have seen substantial growth from search engines. This is during a 5 year span when search engines began heavily embedding local search results in their web search result pages, fundamentally shifting the way consumers search and expect to view their search results. Social and mobile, obviously, were a blip on the radar in 2007, and they have been a central focus of many of our analyses since then.
Q: Can you comment on the topic of social and how comScore observes consumers interacting with local business information on social networks?
A: comScore has done a ton of research on how brands are interacting with consumers on social networks and I don’t think social’s potential B2C impact can be overstated. Just look at the display advertising space, Facebook accounts for over ¼ display ads (March 2012, comScore Ad Metrix)!
Outside of “traditional” display advertising, brands are trying to really engage with consumers on Facebook, and it is not just through their brand fan pages. We profiled a few large brand advertisers in an analysis back in mid 2011, and we found that brands were getting a lot of mileage out of the news feed or profile pages. For example, for every 1 page view it got on their Facebook fan page, Starbucks got 156 impressions to fans and their friends through the news feed or profile pages – a new, measureable form of “word-of-mouth” advertising. These are just a couple of data points to exemplify the potential of this platform.
Within the local business space, we see that 15% of online local business searchers have used social networks to access information about local businesses. 72% of these searchers are more likely to use a local business if a connection recommends it, again speaking to the power of word-of-mouth advertising.
Q: How has consumer’s access of content changed of the last 2-3 years? Particularly in the purchase decision making process.
A: Consumers, by-and-large, use digital sources to gather information. That is not a new trend. What is new is the fact that consumers have more devices than ever before to use in their search for information. Over the last 2 years, the “classic” Internet population (computer users), while the biggest population of connected media users at 224 million (U.S), has increased just 5%. Compare that to the growth of the smartphone user population which has more than doubled over that time period. We can’t compare that to tablet growth since tablets are a relatively new device market entrant, but we all understand the tablet explosion that has occurred in the U.S. Now consider that connected device growth in the context of the wireless market – WiFi increasingly available, major investment by carriers to boost network speed, devices like personal hotspots that enable multi-device connectivity through one connection, and it is clear what has enabled skyrocketing consumer access to information.
On the topic of purchase decision making, naturally more consumer devices mean more touch points and more dispersed consumer behavior. Let’s pull out some examples from our recent study. Most notably, we found that mobile phone searchers are more likely than the average local business searcher to make a purchase following their search (24% more likely). That is further eclipsed by tablet users (49% more likely). These buyers make the decision to use these devices because these devices are accessible, easy to use, and with them when they need them. Connected device access is clearly a game changer. That being said, it is easy to forget that the computer is still the king! When we asked our respondents their primary online access method for local business information, over 80% still said computer/laptop browser.
Senior Director of Telecommunications and Mobile Solutions for comScore