The very first session of the week at last week’s SMX East conference was one of my favorites. Gregg Stewart from 15miles and Gillian Heltai from comScore presented the results of their latest local search study and some of the numbers were fascinating.
The survey involved 2,000 consumers who have accessed local business information this summer. Here are some of the stats that stood out to me.
First place you go to look for local business info
Behavior here differs slightly based on age, but online is the first option for the three major age groups.
Age: 55 and older
- 56% look online first
- 41% look offline first
Age: 35 to 54
- 69% look online first
- 27% look offline first
Age: 18 to 34
- 81% look online first
- 12% look offline first
Stewart and Heltai added that most consumers rely on multiple info sources. Only 14% of people who start at a search engine when looking for local businesses don’t also look for info elsewhere, too. Cell phones and social media are still small, but they’re growing as secondary sources of local info.
Local and Social
The survey asked, “Are you more likely to use a company if you can find their info on a social networking site?”
- 69% say yes
- 13% say no
- 18% are neutral
How are consumers finding local businesses on social networking sites?
- 56% — company pages (i.e. Facebook pages, social profiles, etc.)
- 55% — recommendations from friends
- 48% — via promotions
What do consumers want local businesses to do on social networking sites?
- 81% of consumers want the business to respond to posts/messages (from fans/followers)
- 78% want to see promotions
- 74% want to see regular posts
- 66% want to see pictures
What about reviews and ratings?
- 60% of respondents say they’re important
- 78% of social networkers say they’re important
- 71% of mobile users say reviews are important
There were also stats about how many consumers actually “use” reviews and ratings, and the numbers were much lower in each group above. But I was unclear what Stewart and Heltai meant by “use” — read them regularly? Write reviews? Something else? So, I’m leaving those numbers out due to my own lack of clarity.
70% of survey respondents listed “online” as their primary starting place when looking for local business information. Yellow page use is declining, but is still a strong secondary source. Mobile search and social networking sites are even smaller than yellow pages, but are growing as secondary sources of local business information.