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Mobile makes up 30pc of local searches: study

Mobile continues to encroach on local search results, leaving big implications for how marketers divvy up their ad spend, according to a new study from YP.

YP?s ?Local Insights Digital Report: Year in Review? report looked at which verticals and industries were most impacted by mobile search. Additionally, the report gives marketers a glimpse into how mobile plays a role into overall local search.

?As consumers increasingly rely on mobile search for more than time-sensitive needs, there will be even more opportunity for advertisers to connect with consumers on a mobile device during initial research through decision-making and transaction,? said Ken Ray, chief marketing officer of YP, Tucker, GA.

?For small business owners, the accelerating mobile usage simply means that they?ve got to have a well-designed mobile Web site if they want to maximize their leads,? he said.

YP claims to be the largest local search, media and advertising company in North America.

Mobile intent
The YP report includes information from 2.2 billion searches and 39 billion impressions over YP?s local ad network in 2012.

In addition to accounting for 30 percent of all searches, mobile-generated searches increased by 25 percent year-over-year for YP.

Much of the growth comes from verticals that require an instant reaction from consumers.

For example, mobile searches made for the industrial manufacturing vertical grew 105 percent year-over-year. Mobile searches from party planning also grew by 94 percent.

Medical service-related mobile searches grew 85 percent year-over-year and mobile searches related to physicians and surgeons grew 51 percent in the same time period.

Location continues to play a big part in how mobile searches are made. This sweet spot happens when searches are made one to two miles from a business and will result in a higher number of click-throughs, per the report.

Restaurants made up 17 percent of mobile searches on YP?s local ad network, showing how mobile searches in the industry often have a quick end goal for consumers, such as finding a nearby restaurant. Overall, restaurants made up 10 percent of all YP?s searches on the company?s local ad network.

?Trends around click-to-call ratios are interesting as the industry looks to shift search activity both online and mobile toward actual leads and transactions for brands,? Mr. Ray said.

?For example, on the YP Local Search & Gas Prices app alone, there are more than three calls per second to a local business, demonstrating the opportunity to connect buyers and sellers in meaningful ways,? he said.

Device matters
The study also found that mobile searches differ by device.

For example, mobile searches made from iPads increased 233 percent year-over-year, pointing to the growth of tablets.

Additionally, Android-based searches were up 205 percent and iPhone searches increased 58 percent year-over-year.

Across both mobile and desktop, local searches were highest in the restaurant, financial service, auto repair and beauty service verticals.

With more consumers turning to their mobile devices to research on the go, marketers need to be looking at how their desktop and mobile search strategies align across multiple screens for consumers.

?With consumers increasingly leading mobile lifestyles, marketers need to view Web and mobile search as complementary and make it easy to switch off to a smartphone and pick up where you left off at home on a desktop or tablet,? Mr. Ray said.

?From incorporating share with phone features on desktop search experiences to ensuring users can access saved information whether at a desktop or while mobile, we expect to see even more emphasis on accommodating a mobile lifestyle in 2013,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York