Local-Business Searchers Welcome Mobile to the Neighborhood - eMarketer

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Local-Business Searchers Welcome Mobile to the Neighborhood

Mobile-optimized sites a must for local businesses

July 16, 2015

Local search has gone mobile, and recent research indicates that it’s critical for local businesses to have their mobile presence up to par. According to BrightLocal polling conducted in April 2015, nearly four in 10 US adult mobile device users had searched for local businesses via mobile at least monthly in the past year, compared with three in 10 two years prior. An additional 32% had searched a few times.

Frequency with Which US Mobile Device Users Search for Local Businesses via Mobile Device, 2013 & 2015 (% of respondents)

Further responses highlighted demand for mobile-optimized sites. Browsers were the preferred platform used to search for local businesses via mobile, favored by 50% of respondents—up from 44% in 2013. Meanwhile, maps had fallen in popularity, from 45% to 40%, and apps remained the least popular, with just 10% share.

Fully 38% of mobile users said they were impressed when they found a local business with a website designed for mobile, vs. 25% who said the same in 2013, and one-third said all local businesses should have websites designed for mobile (up from 25% two years prior). Further, just 17% did not expect a local business to have a mobile-designed website—down from 53% in 2013. Respondents also appeared more willing to take the next step if they liked what they saw when searching, as over six in 10 were more likely to contact a local business if it had a mobile-optimized site, up from 38% in 2013.

Most Important Types of Information When Looking at Local-Business Websites via Mobile Device According to US Mobile Device Users, April 2015 (% of respondents)

What do consumers want once they get to a local-business mobile site? Store details such as address, directions, hours and phone numbers were the most popular. Product lists and pricing were each cited by just under three in 10. Respondents showed smaller interest in digging through text, with customer testimonials and “about us” pages less popular, for example.

eMarketer estimates that there will be 157.3 million mobile phone search users in the US this year, representing just under half of the population. Next year, 177.8 million mobile phone users of any age will search on such devices at least monthly via browser or app, representing nearly 55% of all consumers in the country. High mobile search usage, along with the pressure Google’s latest algorithm puts on companies to optimize for mobile, means local businesses would be wise to focus on creating a stellar mobile site.


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