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US consumers love local search, at least according to January 2014 polling by Google conducted in partnership with Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased. The study, which looked at US smartphone users ages 18 and older who conducted searches via their phones at least a few times per week, determined that four in five respondents used search engines on their smartphones or computers/tablets to find local information.
What were they searching for, and on what devices? Business hours, local store addresses, directions to the stores and product availability at nearby shops were all cited by the majority, with some activities smartphone-only, others conducted solely on a computer/tablet and some carried out on both.
Though local information is known to be useful on the move, smartphone searchers were slightly more likely to use their phones to look for local information at home than when they were on the go.
In-store searches via smartphones were also popular, which makes sense given that such devices are now staples of brick-and-mortar shopping. In all, a good chunk of searchers used smartphones everywhere, and besides local queries run at home, computers and tablets were used less than smartphones in every other location.
The study found that local searchers often took action, with half of consumers who conducted local searches via smartphone visiting a store within a day, and 34% of computer/tablet searchers doing so. On top of that, 18% of local queries on smartphones led to a purchase, compared with 7% of nonlocal ones.
Advertisers are responding to consumers’ high local search usage—especially national ones. eMarketer calculations based on figures from BIA/Kelsey estimate that national advertisers will up US local media ad spending by 8.4% in 2014, from $50.2 billion in 2013 to $54.4 billion—or nearly 40% of all local media ad investments. While we expect local advertisers to spend $83.6 billion on such efforts this year, this represents a change of just 0.7%.
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