March 14, 2012
New comScore Local Search Usage Study Reveals "SoLoMo Revolution" Has Begun — Tablet and Smartphone Explosion, Coupled with New Local Search Methods, Means Marketers Must Master Local Business Search
The Social, Local and Mobile — SoLoMo — Revolution, fueled particularly by the rapid adoption of the tablet, now dominates the search landscape, according to the newly released Localeze/15miles fifth annual comScore Local Search Usage Study. The most significant findings revealed that as consumers rapidly adopt new devices and new methods to access local business information, online local listings are the most relevant and trusted search results. The 2012 study, which includes a special focus on mobile and tablet local search usage, shows that tablet owners are the most active local searchers with 64 percent indicating at least weekly use for local searches on the device. Findings also showed that tablets are a critical asset throughout all stages of the local business search and purchase cycle and lead to a higher likelihood of making a purchase, with 86 percent of respondents making a purchase from their most recent tablet-based local search. Sixty-one percent of smartphone users surveyed reported conducting local searches from a device. They also indicated that the number one reason for using a mobile device for a local business search is the on-the-go necessity for fast information. Additionally, 49 percent of mobile and tablet users reported using apps for local business searches. "With the availability, speed and ubiquity of devices, as well as exploding access points for local business information, marketers are challenged with implementing a strategic local targeting program," said Gregg Stewart, president of 15miles, in a news release. "As local-based applications and social networks become more refined, marketers need to employ a top-down approach to ensure that they are reaching their priority channels."
The data was presented during a special joint SMX West presentation from Localeze, a Neustar service and the trusted business listings identity management provider for local search, and 15miles, a leader in local, mobile and social marketing solutions.
New Methods for Finding Local Business Information including Social and Daily Deals
With the rise of social networks and daily deal providers introducing location-based services, consumers are becoming savvier about accessing local business information. In fact, social network local business search usage has increased 67 percent since 2010 and 35 percent of individuals that primarily use social networking sites for local search do so on a daily basis, according to the study. Also, local business searchers are heavily engaged with social local content through consumer reviews, with 45 percent of social network local business users submitting reviews online for local business.
While there is speculation that daily deals are on the decline, 60 percent of respondents use daily deals. In fact, 88 percent of respondents that use Groupon and 86 percent of respondents that use Living Social said they are highly satisfied with the purchases from these sites. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents also revealed that they have or plan to purchase future deals from these businesses.
Local Listings the Most Relevant and Trusted Search Results for Consumers
When searching online for local businesses, and in general, mobile searches, basic business Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) information is still the most critical search data. Additionally, online searchers do not believe paid results or even general search results, are as relevant or trustworthy as local search results. According to this year's findings, 61 percent of online searchers consider local search results to be more relevant and 58 percent consider local search results to be more trustworthy. On the contrary, only 10 percent of online searchers indicated paid search results were more relevant and 9 percent felt they were more trustworthy. Also, local business information is important for today's social networkers. 63 percent of social networkers are more likely to use a local business if the business has information available on a social networking site.
"It has never been so easy for consumers to access and share meaningful local business information," said Jeff Beard, president, Localeze. "This convenience is transforming the way users perform local searches. With the explosion of local information online, it has never been more important for businesses to get their core listings correct. Marketers have a unique, unprecedented opportunity to capitalize on reaching consumers at the right time and in the right forum while ensuring the sanctity of their business listings."
The Localeze/15miles Local Search Usage Study was conducted by comScore in December 2011, based on a combination of data from 4,000 online surveys and observed behaviors of one million consumers who agreed to have their online searches tracked anonymously.