The annual “Local Search Study” from comScore, 15 Miles and Neustar (Localeze) is now in its 7th year. (That’s kind of shocking to me.) New data are coming out tomorrow from the latest wave.
Below are some of the published findings from that 2007 original study (n=3,000) commissioned by 15 Miles and carried out by comScore:
- 82% of Local Searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call, or purchase, emphasizing the importance for marketers to integrate their on and offline information. Of these, 61% made purchases.
- 33% of all consumers still consider print yellow pages as their primary source of local business info, and 90% feel it’s valuable because it gives more information such as accurate phone numbers.
- The local search business grew 20% this year (2006), 40% faster than general searches on Google, Yahoo, MSN and others.
Note that 33% stat above in bold. I wonder how much that’s changed in seven years. Here’s what I wrote in 2007 about the comScore findings:
Tracking remains a central challenge in local search: capturing what happens after consumers leave the Internet and go into the “real world.” According to the study, a significant number of local search and online yellow pages users simply went into local businesses or stores and conducted transactions without first contacting the business.
What’s now been repeatedly documented, however, is the fact that the overwhelming majority of transactions (goods or services) happen locally, but the Internet plays an increasing role in consumer decision making. What’s also clear from this study is that traditional media aren’t marginalized, although they don’t have the control and influence they once did. It’s a much more complicated and fragmented marketplace for everyone.
Traditional media have been marginalized to a greater degree in the intervening years. And offline tracking is still a major challenge but with the advent of smartphones and offline location getting much easier.
In late 2006 Nielsen separately produced survey research that showed a majority of local search users conducted category searches and didn’t use geographic modifiers. That was initially a “disambiguation” problem for search engines. Ironically, today, geo-modifiers are less and less required because of location detection and mobile device context.
This year’s comScore local search survey results reportedly show that about 62% to 64% of local search users (depending on the source/site) go on to purchase something — remarkably similar to 2007. The major difference in the market now is mobile devices and their impact on behavior. I’ll be writing more of the data up this week.
However if you’re interested, tomorrow at 2 ET/11 PT, comScore is hosting a free webinar to discuss the findings.