48% of mobile users access local content


48 percent of mobile users access local content: report

By Lauren Johnson

May 6, 2013

local search 

Nearly half of mobile phone owners used their device to look for local information in December 2012, according to a new report from the Local Search Association.

The “Local Mobile Search Report 2013” findings point to the increased role that smartphones and tablets are increasingly playing for the search industry in the United States. In particular, the report points to the need for marketers to view mobile at a local level.

“We already know that consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to search the Internet,” said Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association, Berkeley Heights, NJ. “However, our report demonstrates that growth in mobile search is not equal for all categories.

The good news for local businesses is that mobile search of online directories and other local resources is growing at a much higher rate than total web traffic from non-PC devices,” he said.

“This presents a clear opportunity for local businesses to pursue mobile advertising strategies to reach these consumers where they are increasingly searching.”

Search on mobile
The Local Search Association worked with comScore on the report. The findings are from December 2012 and include numbers from comScore’s digital and mobile metric databases.

Fifty-one percent of mobile phone users during the third-quarter of 2012 owned a smartphone, and 49 percent owned a feature phone.

That number grew during the fourth-quarter of 2012 with 54 percent for smartphone ownership and 46 percent for feature phones.

The findings also point to the increased use of multiple devices for accessing content.

Roughly 37 percent of U.S. smartphone users also owned other connected devices, such as tablets, ereaders and gaming devices during the fourth-quarter of 2012.

In fact, 28.8 percent of smartphone users also had a tablet by the end of 2012, according to the research.

While PC users accessing the Internet plateaued from December 2011 to 2012, mobile usage to access the Internet grew.

Fifteen percent of Web traffic came from mobile devices in December 2012 compared to 7 percent in December 2011.

Local intent
The findings also point to mobile search increasingly being used for online directories and local resources.

Page hits to online directories and local resources from non-PC devices brought in 27 percent of total Web traffic in December 2012. The same kind of page hits brought in 6 percent of Web share in 2011.

Additionally, 77 percent of smartphone owners accessed local content in December 2012. Fourteen percent of non-smartphone owners did the same.

There are also differences between how consumers are accessing this local content via applications and mobile sites.

Seventy-seven million smartphone owners used apps to access local content in December 2012, which is a 22 percent year-over-year increase. This number also represents more than 60 percent of smartphone owners who accessed local content via apps.

On the other hand, 69 million mobile owners used browsers to access local content in December 2012. This is a 12 percent increase over 2011.

When it comes to Internet Yellow Pages, consumers who are accessing this content are more likely to have greater incomes than the average smartphone owner, according to the findings.

For example, IYP users are 51 percent more likely to make more than $100,000 a year.

These users are also looking at ads frequently, which has big implications in how marketers use mobile in conjunction with local content.

Twenty-five percent of IYP app users said that they were exposed to mobile ads on a daily basis. Twelve percent of all smartphone owners said the same.

Additionally, 41 percent of IYP app users made at least one on-phone purchase per month. To compare, 19 percent of all smartphone owners made a purchase via their mobile device.

“Mobile is playing an increasingly central role in how local businesses get found by consumers,” Mr. Norton said.

“In today’s rapidly changing media environment, local marketers should pursue an integrated approach that combines mobile offerings with digital, social and print solutions to deliver high quality leads from all the platforms where consumers are searching,” he said.

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