We can now confirm that local search drives retail foot traffic. According to Google, 73 percent of mobile searches trigger additional actions and 28 percent result in conversions in the store.
This is great news because, according to a new report from Placeable, “Be Found: Location-Based Marketing Insights,” 55 percent of consumers like personalized offers in real time. (Registration is required to access the report.) The consumer is actually listening! In fact, 73 percent of consumers reported to be receptive to offers during the holidays. Look out for that geofence, Rudolph.
Another interesting figure from Google is that 55 percent of purchase-related conversions occur within one hour of the initial mobile search. However, we must take into consideration the intent behind a mobile search. For example, the Placeable report revealed that 71 percent of consumers first research and confirm location information from their desktops, meaning they have determined what they want to buy and where they want to buy it before they leave their homes.
Mobile search correlating to a high rate of activity puts mobile on the center stage. But the buying behavior that may be influenced still takes place at home, or in the office. Mobile search is not about research--it is about navigation to the product, service, store, or restaurant that has already been identified prior to transit.
What about data accuracy? The fact that 18 percent of direction-based searches take you to the wrong place is widely accepted. It is also broadly annoying. Dirty location data feeds the search ecosystem with bad information, which leads consumers astray and harms the brand. Our report found 67 percent of consumers will blame the brand when they get lost due to inaccurate directions. Similarly, 73 percent will blame the brand when they uncover inaccurate information, such as the lack of availability of products or services at a location.
In other words, when directories such as Yelp or YP.com have incorrect information, we blame Yelp or YP.com. And if Google directs us to the wrong place, we blame Google.
Directories, themselves, are also risky for brands because they expose customers to competitive promotions. In fact, 60 percent of consumers admit they would go to a competitor while searching for your business in a directory. That figure jumps to 73 percent if you are a restaurant.
Marketers must understand that being found online via search and being found via the mobile Web for navigation are distinctly different, though both equally important. Enterprise advertisers need to optimize for both. Distribution of content to the ecosystem should be a secondary strategy, deployed only to support well-optimized local pages.