The Local Search Association has released a new Local Mobile Search report, which affirms many of the big themes and trends in the market now: PC traffic is flat, mobile is gaining rapidly and mobile is heavily used for local search. The Q4 2012 data in the report are from comScore. And because the data are from Q4, the trends and traffic figures in the report are probably slightly higher now.
The data argue that there has been zero-percent growth in PC Internet traffic since 2011. The PC Internet has plateaued (see our Marketing Land story: PC Free: 46% Used Only Mobile Devices In Purchase Process According To New Study.)
At the same time mobile is growing as a percentage of overall traffic to websites. As of Q4, on average, mobile traffic stood at 15 percent. However in particular categories it’s much higher: local for example. In its Q1 earnings call this week Yelp said that 55 percent of all its searches are now from mobile (45 percent from apps).
Traffic to local sites is growing faster than mobile traffic generally across the internet. The average percentage of mobile traffic (traffic from “non-PC” devices) to local sites grew to 27 percent in Q4 vs. the broader internet average of 15 percent.
As indicated above, particular local sites may be seeing even greater traffic from mobile devices. Another example: real estate site Zillow announced in January that more than half of its visits are now coming from mobile.
Consistent with other data, mobile apps are more often used to access local content than the mobile browser according to the report. However, as a practical matter, it really depends heavily on the category. In some categories the mobile browser may be used more often and in others apps dominate.
For example in the following slide based on data from Nielsen-xAd-Telmetrics’ 2012 mobile path to purchase study, apps were the primary way to access content in the travel category but not for automotive.
The report argues, quite correctly, that everyone operating in the local market needs to quickly shift budget and attention to mobile given how fast everything is changing.