Study: More than 77 Million Using Mobile Apps to Find Local Information

LSA LogoI only just posted on the comScore-15 Miles-Neustar local search study. However this morning the Local Search Association (LSA) offered a generous preview of its own local search study, focusing on mobile. More findings from this study will be presented at the upcoming Local Search Association conference.

While much of the data in the LSA’s “Mobile Landscape Report” are generally consistent with the 15 Miles-Neustar study, there are also some different areas of inquiry and findings.

Among the major drivers of changing user behavior documented in the report is the rise of multi-device ownership. Almost 40% of smartphone owners now have other “connected devices” as well.

PC vs. other device share of web traffic

Smartphones and tablets now combine to generate about 15% of all US web traffic (it’s more in many categories). For example, traffic from mobile devices in the directories/IYP category is 27% on average. That number is even low for some IYP and locally oriented sites.

While the 15 Miles/Neustar local search study didn’t report how many smartphone owners accessed apps for local content in 2012 the LSA study says, “Approximately 77 million smartphone owners relied on apps to visit local content in December 2012, up 22% over the course of the year. About 69 million users relied on browsers, up 12% over the course of the year.”

Users are relying almost equally on browsers and apps to find local information. Thus local business data must be optimized for the browser experience and disseminated to the major local apps as well.

The LSA report doesn’t give the breakdown of traffic or usage by app (15 Miles-Neustar does). But LSA does say that 8% of smartphone owners used IYP/directory apps in Q4, while 12% went to IYP sites through mobile browsers. Despite this smaller audience (vs. search) the report argues the IYP audience is demographically and economically attractive.

This audience apparently also sees more ads and is more inclined to conduct mobile commerce than the general smartphone population.

IYP mobile ad exposures

As mentioned more complete findings and data will be presented at the upcoming Local Search Association conference in Las Vegas (April 15-16). The LSA’s Natalie Wuchenich has also written up a broader selection of the findings on Search Engine Land.

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