Study: Local Search Booming On Mobile & Social Platforms

local searchI know what you’re thinking, a study saying that local search is growing rapidly on mobile devices sounds like a no-brainer, but here me out.  A new study put out by TMP Directional Marketing aimed at determining the year-over-year growth of local search and the shifts in consumer behavior and media usage.  Put simply, the study wanted to point out where local search is coming from and how it’s being used today as opposed to last year.

The study shows that while the Web in general is still obviously fueling growth in the overall search market, it’s mobile and social network search in particular that are increasingly becoming the main factors in the equation.  The total search market grew to 21.9 billion total US searches in June 2009, a year-on-year increase of 31%.

From a mobile standpoint, the study proved that with 22 million consumers using the mobile Internet through June 2009, the preferred mode to access local business information remains the mobile browser.  In fact, 127 percent more users accessed local content via downloaded applications on mobile devices, compared to June 2008.  Furthermore, among the various local content categories searched on mobile platforms, more consumers accessed online directories (42 percent), followed by maps (41 percent), restaurant information (37 percent) and movies (30 percent).

Interestingly, consumers performing local searches via social networking platforms is on the rise as well, with 4 percent of “young people” doing their searches for local information on social sites like Facebook.  Should be interesting to see how much that number grows in the coming years.

Location-aware local searches are becoming increasingly important for consumers of any age, with the study pointing out the fact that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents in 2009 stated that they expect their search results to reveal businesses within 15 miles of their homes or places of work. This statistic is significantly higher compared to 2008 (59 percent) and 2007 (52 percent), proving that consumers expect more relevance in their business searches.

The search market has always been interesting to follow due to its ever-changing ecosystem and the ever-evolving devices and platforms that are used to perform searches.  Mobile will undoubtedly be a driving factor in the future of search, but social-based search and the location-aspect of search will send huge waves through the market in the very near future.