More People Go Mobile For Local

Since the beginning of the year, many of us have predicted that mobile will be the top driving force behind local search growth in 2010. A rapidly-increasing number of smartphone users — combined with faster mobile technology, better search offerings, and higher advertiser engagement  — suggests that consumers will be more likely than ever to begin using their phones as local search tools.

New research released today provides some support to that argument, showing that the number of mobile subscribers turning to their devices to find local businesses is growing by double digit percentage points.

The study was conducted by comScore and released today by the Yellow Pages Association (YPA).

The report shows that the number of mobile subscribers accessing business directories on a mobile phone increased 14 percent year-over-year to 17.3 million users in March 2010. This increase outpaces 10 percent growth in the number of mobile media users who browsed the mobile web, used applications or downloaded content during the same time period.

Additionally, the number of people accessing business directories on a mobile device at least once per week increased more than 16 percent year-over-year to nearly five million in March 2010.

This is good news for Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) and other local sites because it suggests the opportunity to reach more consumers is growing quickly. This high growth illustrates that as more consumers use mobile devices to search and access content, they are continuing to rely on Yellow Pages’ convenient and reliable business listings to help them find local businesses on-the-go.

So what do these results mean for advertisers?

The data shows that in addition to the benefits of advertising with IYPs to attract those searching for business information on their personal computers, local businesses are receiving added value in online listings being accessible to a growing number of mobile users.

The report provided additional contexts about the ways consumers reach business directories on their mobile device. According to comScore, the mobile browser was the most common access method for users, with 10.8 million subscribers in March 2010 and 21 percent year-over-year growth. But even as the browser remained the most used mobile feature for access, apps grew at a more rapid pace with 42 percent year-over-year growth, totaling 4.1 million subscribers in March 2010. These results indicate that IYP reach is not limited to a specific platform within the mobile category, but accessible to a broad range of mobile users.

The research also found that consumers accessing business directories via mobile represent a younger, wealthier, and content-hungry base to advertisers:

  • 58% are 34 or younger.
  • Over half of those have a household income in excess of $75,000. These are attractive figures for local businesses seeking to better position themselves to attract local leads.
  • Mobile users are three and half times more likely as the average mobile media user to access women’s magazine content, health information, real estate listings, and job listings via their mobile devices.

And while local mobile grew double digits, local searches on personal computers saw single digit growth year-over-year. Searches on IYPs and portal sites increased 4 percent to 444 million in March 2010, or 5.3 billion annually — indicating that more consumers are coming to rely on Yellow Pages when searching from their computer.

As local businesses look for new ways to maximize advertising opportunities in today’s changing media landscape, Yellow Pages continue to provide attractive platforms to reach important consumer bases as they increasingly adopt digital and mobile. And as this new study shows, an integrated approach pays offs when listings on one platform are easily accessible on others—giving advertisers added exposure and more bang for their buck.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Features: General | Local Search Column


About The Author: brings nearly three decades of Yellow Pages and local search experience, as Director of Research for the Yellow Pages Association (YPA). Larry spearheads and advises on all association-driven research activities for the industry, as well as blogs about the industry on the InsideYP blog.

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