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Local Search Behavior: A better and faster customer support

Over the past years search behavior of users has changed: While people used to look for general information in search engines, they now tend to search more for products/services nearby. Where can I find a specific product in a store in my city? Which dealer in my proximity offers the best prices? Which restaurant do others recommend in my town?

Local search queries are made anywhere and anytime on any device.

Local search queries are made anywhere and anytime on any device.

When users have search queries like that, they expect to see location-based results that are relevant for their query. In cooperation with Ipos MediaCT Google has published a study, asking users about their search behavior. The study has shown that indeed users have high expectations when it comes to their results of search queries via mobile devices. The vast majority of the 3.500 participants wants the results to be adapted to hometown, zip code or their current location. Therefore, it is essential to show users relevant ads based on their location. The ad should also contain address of the shop, direction as well as phone number.

Local search queries are made anywhere and anytime on any device

Users look for something on the Internet no matter where they are and what they do: If you are running errands, for example, there are often different details you need to find the right closest shop. Alternatively, when you are visiting a different city and look for restaurant recommendations. Nine out of ten of the respondents (97%) said they use search engines via smartphones to search for products, services or directions for their current location. Most users search from their current position. Approximately 98 percent use their computer or tablet to seek information.

The study revealed where smartphone users actually browse for information. Contrary to common beliefs where smartphones are mainly used (metro, street) 83 percent of respondents said they are searching for local-based information with their smartphones from home. Only 45 percent of the interviewees said they use their smartphones on their way to somewhere– e.g. in shopping malls or strolling through the city.

These results show that for local merchants and service providers the time is now to become active in the mobile sector in order not to miss potential customers. Those advertisers who want to be visible for the customers should therefore urgently try local SEA ads. They also have to make sure to optimize their websites to mobile device use. Only those take action now, will be able to meet the local users’ need.

Search requests are directly related to an action

The study also showed that consumers using search engines via their smartphone are often on the verge to decide whether to buy something or not. About 82 percent of the users bought something after seeing an 43 percent bought something about 60 minutes after they searched for a product/service.

This means that users are likely to take action after seeing an ad. Concerning the information provided by the ads more than 77 percent of smartphone users stated they have used the map and the click-to-call button. Nearly 79 percent of computer or tablet users have reported that they have used the local information in an ad. Particularly the link to local addresses, phone numbers and reviews.

What are the implications for marketers, entrepreneurs and service providers?

The Internet enables potential clients to have access to a pool of information, anytime and anywhere. Advertisers can benefit from optimizing the search advertising to local needs by providing the appropriate local information to potential buyers at the right place and time. This also applies to large trade networks with several hundred or thousand branches. Only locally adapted search engine advertising gives the user what he needs. If you want to know more about this topic, check out our guideline on successful trade campaigns in search engines that will be published soon on our website.

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