This week, the Local Search Association is releasing our “Local Mobile Search Study,” which overviews the evolving mobile environment in the U.S. and the growing role of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices in the local search experience.
The 2013 study, which features 2012 data compiled from several comScore digital and mobile metrics databases, demonstrates a significant shift in how consumers are accessing the Internet and emphasizes the importance of local businesses embracing mobile platforms as yet another venue to reach consumers.
Meanwhile, the share of Web traffic from non-PC devices, including smartphones and tablets, more than doubled to 15% from 7% over the course of 2012 alone.
In December 2012, nearly one in two (48%) mobile users accessed local content, up from 42% in December 2011. The figure will continue to rise with the greater adoption of smartphones: 77% of smartphone users accessed local content, compared to just 14% of non-smartphone users.
The results of LSA’s “Mobile Landscape Report” offer some important conclusions for the local business owner contemplating next steps in their marketing plan:
- The rise of smartphones and other connected devices – and the resulting shifts in how consumers are accessing the Internet – demonstrates the continued diversification of the media landscape. Local businesses should be introducing advertising strategies and mobile and tablet-friendly websites to attract consumers increasingly accessing the Web from their handheld devices.
- Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS have achieved near-domination of the smartphone and tablet operating system markets. Any mobile campaign, websites, or application must be accessible from both platforms.
- Over 60% of smartphone consumers are now accessing local content on their devices; and, while consumers prefer apps to search for local content, use of browsers is also strong. Local businesses should ensure their mobile efforts include both apps and browsers.
- Growth of non-PC share of traffic for directories/resources is far outpacing growth in share for total Internet.
- The share of smartphone users leveraging IYP apps is small. That said, IYP app users are a very attractive demographic: they’re the right age, more likely to shop on their phone, and more likely to spend more money via their phone.
Bottom Line: Yet, as connected devices are more widely adopted, local businesses must also recognize that the “old” PC platform currently commands a much greater share of Web traffic. Adopting a multi-platform advertising approach, which places value on all potential lead sources, is still crucial. Local businesses must keep one foot in the present while stepping forward to what’s next.
Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California based Internet Marketing and Website Development Firm.