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Search Engine Marketing
YouDirectories-Local-Search-Behaviour-Survey-HP

Local search behaviour survey of 3,000 people reveals how consumers search for and buy from businesses online.  

Purpose This was a study into how people search for local businesses and how that search is conducted when using various computer devices. The purpose is to determine whether YouCom Direct are advertising for clients in the most efficient way that would deliver the highest ROI (client sales etc).  

Study Sample This was a study of 3,000 people (3,000 responses collected) via an email survey. Respondents have been categorised by the local search site they last used to find a business online.  

Definitions; Search: A results page displayed in response to user-defined search parameters.

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Local Business Search: A search that returns data including a local business name, phone number, address, hours of operation, products, promotions, etc.   IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) / Local Search: Business directory searches on IYP and local search sites (traditionally a two-box search).


YouDirectories-Local-Search-Behaviour-Survey-2-Yell  

Portal Search with geo-local targeting: Search with local intent on a portal site such as Google Places, Bing Maps (below) etc. (traditionally a one-box search).


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Industry facts The total number of US mobile phone visitors to search or navigation sites / apps grew last year from 90.1m to 113.1m (26% increase).*


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Tablet searches also grew to 38.7 million in the US (19% growth in 2012). More than half of users surveyed say they use mobile phones to search because they are away from home/office. At the same time PC and laptop searches fell declining by 17% for local business searches and 5% for non-local searches.*


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It is apparent that it becomes increasingly important for advertisers to ensure the sites where they advertise their businesses have good mobile site versions (and firstly whether the advertising is replicated on a mobile site or if that is additional cost).  

Survey Overview
The study revealed that consumers’ search behaviour has changed as the methods of searching for a local business have changed. The results show that the primary activity for consumers on mobile devices is search (56% for Search; 40% for Social Networking; 39% for News; 31% Weather; Entertainment news 30%)

The study also found tablet owners becoming less mobile and less concerned with ease of use. Map based applications have become increasingly important in local search with significant changes in the look and feel of sites such as Bing Maps over the last 12 months.

For businesses targeting online traffic, the results show local business searches via mobile phones were more likely to end with an in-store visit than PC or tablet searches. Those using a mobile phone or tablet were also more likely to make a purchase as a result of their search.

As the mobile market continues to grow, these findings show businesses need to re-think how they engage with local customers. Consumers now expect accurate, easy-to-access information on local businesses via a variety of computing platforms

PC and laptop searches have decreased over the past year.

Portal sites (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing) have seen an increase as the primary source of searching for local business information (rising from 30% to 36% in the last five years).*
 
Search behaviour of PC or laptop, tablet and mobile users is different
Tablet sales are outpacing smartphone sales. In just two years, tablet owners have reached 40 million (it took smartphones 10 years to reach that figure).

The survey found that the frequency of local business searches on smartphones remained constant, but interestingly local searches conducted on tablets has decreased in frequency in the last year. It is presumed tablets are being used more in a fixed location such as the home or office.

PC or laptops were shown to be used more towards the beginning of the search whereas mobile phones and tablets were used more towards the end of the search.


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Smart phone, tablet and PC or laptop users all rated accurate information as more important than depth of content.  

Local search using apps is increasing

Local Search Behaviour Study by YouCom Direct


Map based applications are playing an important role in local search, especially from smartphone users. Application based (app) local search has almost doubled in the last two years (significantly more growth than SMS and web browser channels). Interestingly, while Google dominates, the other applications drive noticeable volume of consumers searching for a local business.


YouDirectories-Local-Search-Behaviour-Survey-8-Yelp

The growth in consumer use of map based applications is evident in “traditional” online directories such as Yelp and ThomsonLocal.com who are altering the display of business listing searches to become more map focused.  

Detail required from a local search advertiser

The survey found consumers required their search to yield a correct address as the most important thing in a local business search.

Local Search Behaviour Study by YouCom Direct

Those using smartphones placed high importance on the telephone number (as expected) but also business hours and distance to the business from where they are (geo-location).

These features can be seen in online directories who have clearly undertaken their own studies to make their sites more appealing to advertisers.

Yell.com example of distance

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ThomsonLocal.com example of Business hours

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60% of all respondents rated consumer reviews as important in their local search choice. However, only 26% actually found helpful reviews in their search for a local business. This indicates that whilst some advertisers might have good reviews or a successful online review marketing program, the industry as a whole is behind in this area. It could be concluded that were one company to significantly increase their reviews and manage the message of these reviews, they would have a significant edge over whether consumers chose them or their competitors.  

Use of Social Networking sites for local business searches

Local Search Behaviour Study by YouCom Direct

In the above graph, ‘active’ is a consumer who has actively used a social network to search for a local business. ‘Passive’ are the consumers who have connected to the business as a follower and are now susceptible to messaging.

From this we conclude that whilst for a company’s developed markets, social network sites might not be a priority because the sales uplift is harder to trace; for markets with low market share or low sales, it is a vital channel to have a presence. Below is an example of a storage company in the Netherlands who has created separate Twitter accounts for each store, encouraging store managers to gain followers that would later form a captive data set of dormant or active customers.


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The graph revealed a slight decline in active searches for local businesses on social networks (15% to 13%), however the overall reach of the media remains high (58% of respondents using social networks say they are more likely to use a local business that a connection has recommended.  

Mobile searches are more likely to result in a sale

Of the respondents last local business search, those conducted by a smartphone were more likely to result in a visit to store than PC or laptop searches. Significantly, those using a smartphone to search were more likely to buy as a result of that search (78% of smartphone searches and 77% of tablet searches resulted in a purchase. The 15 mile study was conducted via comscore as an email survey collecting 3,000 completed responses. *Neustar Localeze Data  

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Glossary:

IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)

ROI (Return On Investment)


Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Nov 2013, London, ‘Local search behaviour survey’

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Search Engine Marketing

Hyper Local SEM by YouCom Direct

There are several major media and technology companies showing an increased interest in the hyper local market so far. Here are some highlights;

  YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Yahoo

bought
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and
YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Stamped

Marissa Mayer, the recently arrived CEO at Yahoo, has already made several acquisitions in location marketing apps, two of which focusing on hyper local content. Stamped – an iPhone app to let people record and share information; and Alike – a mobile app that helps users discover nearby venues and places to visit based on their interests. As Yahoo! mounts a mobile offensive, Mayer uses her experience from heading up Google’s local division to build on personalisation and context-driven content. This will have an impact on the recent tie-in with the French IYP as Yahoo! Mobile expands.


YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Facebook 
bought
YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Gowalla
and
YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Glancee

Facebook launched a local discovery feature called ‘Nearby’ in December 2012 and a powerful local graph search in January 2013. Much of their team developing the location marketing app ‘nearby’ came from Facebook’s acquisition of Gowalla (orange logo above) – a location based social networking site once viewed as Foursquare’s biggest competitor. Facebook also bought Glancee to strengthen its local discovery product. Glancee uses Facebook to find common friends and Wikipedia to match users based on interests relevant to one another.


  YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Groupon

bought
  YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Blink
and
YouDirectories-Hyper-local-SEM-Image-Sidetour

In Sept 2013, Groupon bought Blink, a last minute hotel booking app that competes with the likes of the heavily backed HotelTonight, and Hot Hotels. Its features focus on local area search mapping and room unlocking using the app itself for select chains. One week later, Groupon bought SideTour, a local marketplace where people can book places for small-scale, bespoke activities, and post their own events. Groupon says that SideTour will continue to operate as a separate entity “for some time” as its activity listings start to get distributed via Groupon’s email, web and mobile channels. SideTour has established an identity as a platform where people seek out special events that typically have no more than around a dozen other people in attendance. Activities include meals, wine tasting and cocktail-making tutorials in private homes, walking tours etc.



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Glossary:

IYP – Internet Yellow Pages (yell.com etc)

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Required Reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Sept 2013, London, ‘Hyper local SEM, the dynamics of location marketing’’

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Search Engine Marketing
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When consumers are looking specifically for a local business or service, they will run a geo-specific search.   They will either turn to their PYP which is by nature already geographically localised, or search via the web, mobile sites and apps with parameters that contain a city name or zip code.  

The search engine results contain business information from IYP style sites like yell.com comprised of business name, address and contact number.

The IMMR Local Search Study on ‘how consumers use local search’ Oct 2012 states that 40% of people use local search once a day, while 66% use local search 3-4 times a week. Quite simply, with such logical consumer search patterns and search frequencies, if a business isn’t focusing on their local search listings they will miss out on sales.

There are two objectives for an advertiser. Firstly to ensure their business locations are advertised in all the places that might pop up in a consumers’ local search. Secondly to ensure all current online listings show correct business details because sending consumers to a wrong location can affect their lifetime value to that brand.

There are many publishers providing a local search service which vary by country and there are many sources these publishers use to populate their business listings data. Understanding where consumers are searching (which varies by consumer type, county, country), the type of results they find and how to manage the sources of these results is the key to local SEM success.

High usage sites like Yell.com will produce a CTR and call volumes to yield a low CPC, justifying paid for listings that rank higher in local searches (yell.com for example has 10m monthly visits). Often because of such advertiser investment, their services improve with mobile apps and other ways to connect to consumers.

Other sites have less usage and these are where the listings already present need to be managed to ensure their details are correct. Frequently the sites trying to establish themselves as an IYP alternative will offer pay by results programs where the CPC is guaranteed. Mastering local search in a local market is the key to effective SEM  

Glossary:

PYP (Print Yellow Pages);

IYP (Internet Yellow Pages);

CTR (click through rate);

CPC (cost per call).

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)


Data source:

YouCom Direct Jun 2013; IMMR Local Search Study Oct 2012


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Required Reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Jun 2013, London, ‘How online directories affect the bottom line.’

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Search Engine Marketing
YouDirectories-Print-directories-in-a-multi-platform-world-IMAGE-2

Emil Morales, senior vice president at TNS and panel moderator, kicked off a local search discussion by showcasing the independent TNS study results indicating print Yellow Pages extends the reach of other local media. The data shows consumers use print Yellow Pages in conjunction with all other types of local media prior to and following the decision to buy. The discussion can be viewed here: http://goo.gl/8eKjeZ  


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The director of national marketing at YP also discussed the strong volume of call counts and the high return on investment advertisers receive from print directories. He said ROI for print ads is 13:1 and that call volumes are up 8% year-over-year, generating 35% more calls for existing customers, according to CRM Associates’ latest study. The YP national marketing director also talked about the significance of knowing your ideal customer, stressing that for many traditional Yellow Pages categories with desirable demographics like baby boomers and seniors, print Yellow Pages is still driving leads.  

Eric Webb, president of Marquette Group, focused on the importance of “a print and” strategy, noting that advertisers should consider print with other media.  


a Multi-platform world by YouCom Direct

Dave Wolf, managing partner at Link media 360, said “the challenge facing print is the fragmented media environment with numerous competing products and platforms available for advertisers to reach consumers. Print Yellow Pages should no longer be the primary medium but a necessary addition to ‘ground’ online traffic that might not reach certain [older] consumer groups.”  

Data source:

2013 Local Search Association Conference, Las Vegas, NV, USA. Ref: Article from the Local Search Insider, April 18, 2013.

Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Apr 2013, London, ‘Print directories in a multi-platform world.’

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Search Engine Marketing
YouDirectories-Yahoo!-joins-forces-with-PagesJaunes-IMAGE-HP

When Yahoo! And PagesJaunes announced their partnership at the end of January 2013; it signalled a rise in performance for the French directory’s IYP listings. PagesJaunes is a major innovator in the French local search space online and this partnership means Yahoo! will have access to the millions of local business listings in the PagesJaunes database.  


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Equally all business listings in the French directory site will benefit from the increased visibility of Yahoo! search parameters. As of February 2013, France’s PYP and IYP reach more than 90% of French consumers. Quite simply the local search scene varies significantly by country and France has fewer competitors to the local search space than the UK or US, in addition to SEM operating in different ways to its Anglo-American counterparts.


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There are growing alternative IYP directories which can complement a program but this is still a strong partnership.

by YouCom Direct

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Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Feb 2013, London, ‘Yahoo! joins forces with PagesJaunes’

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Search Engine Marketing
YouDirectories-Urban-Yellow-Pages-usage-remains-strong-IMAGE-HP  
New research from analyst firm Market Authority shows that print Yellow Pages usage not only remains strong in rural areas, but is also a key player in the local search experience in urban locations too.   Market Authority conducted more than 39,000 live interviews across the country with both urban and rural consumers. Their research found that perceptions of low print Yellow Pages usage among urbanites are “highly exaggerated.” The firm found that 67% of consumers in urban households report using the print directory at least occasionally when searching for local businesses.


Yellow Pages is now online as Yell.com
Results from rural markets were even stronger, with nearly 90% of consumers interviewed reporting they use print directories at least occasionally when searching for local businesses. Across both urban and rural markets, Market Authority found that print usage skews much higher with baby boomers and seniors.


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The annual Local Media Tracking Survey, which was conducted by independent research firm Burke, released data in July 2012 showing that; print and Internet Yellow Pages are highly consulted sources of local business information. It details that 74% of consumers in urban areas say they searched a print or Internet Yellow Pages in the past year.  Market Authority research also shows reach among consumers living in rural areas is stronger with 83% using print or Internet Yellow Pages in the past year.  

“Our research suggests that print Yellow Pages should still be a key part of an SMB’s budget in urban areas and should still dominate the budget in a rural areas.” said Steve Sitton, president of Market Authority.
 
The research continues to demonstrate that a balanced, integrated and multi-platform approach to local advertising is essential to any local business market plan and SEM professional.  

Data source:

Market Authority Inc. Ref: Article from the Local Search Insider, December 05, 2012.

Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Dec 2012, London, Urban YP usage remains strong’.

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