Remember when you had to rely on folded paper maps to find your way around a new city? When people used the phone book to find a local restaurant or flower shop? Now, of course, we can find information like this in seconds on our mobile phones. And it’s not even considered a convenience for most people—it’s an expectation.
Along with this increased expectation from consumers comes increased responsibility for brands and businesses to deliver quality information, quickly, on mobile-friendly platforms. We are living in the moment—“micro-moments,” really—searching and making purchasing decisions based on our location and the information available at our fingertips and in our pockets. As this recent article from Google points out, “50 percent of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18 percent of those searches lead to a purchase within a day.”
In recent years Google has seen a tremendous increase in “micro-moments,” where users are searching for restaurants, shops, and other businesses near their physical locations. The number of searches for things nearby has increased 34 times since 2011, and most of them originate from mobile devices.
Curious what the most popular searches are in a weekend? Below are a few by time/day, as shared by Google…
So, how can companies make sure they’re not left out of the mix when people nearby are trying to find them? Here are a few tips:
- Have a mobile-friendly landing page. This is a must. If people can’t view your website on their phones, they’ll take their mobile browser—and their business—elsewhere. Local information seekers searching on mobile devices are ready to take action: Research from Google and Ipsos shows that after looking for local information on their smartphones, 59 percent visit a business and more than 40 percent make a purchase. You need to have useful, relevant information easily available for them.
- Paid search pays off. Mobile traffic for paid search has risen 60 percent this year and is expected to account for 50 percent of all paid search traffic by the end of 2015. Location extensions (ads that lead to a map rather than a landing page) can be used by advertisers to target people looking for their services.
- Monitor your online reviews. If you own a restaurant or hotel and someone lands on Yelp or TripAdvisor during a search, your reviews can be the deciding factor for a customer choosing between your business and the one down the street. Know what your past customers are saying so you can maintain the kind of service that attracts new ones.
We recently explained the importance of having a mobile-friendly site in this post about Google’s new search algorithm, and this new insight into “near me” searches makes mobile even more essential. The bottom line? If you sell a product or service or own a brick-and-mortar store or restaurant, you need to make your online information mobile friendly.
Not sure what to do next? Contact our team at Planit to see how we can help.