Google Study Reveals What Local Mobile Searchers Want to See in Your Ads

April 3, 2015

What are on-the-go consumers looking for when they're using mobile devices to perform searches with local intent? Four out of five local searchers want the ads they see to be customized to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings, for one.

They're also looking for information they can act on immediately. Fifty percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, according to new research by Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased, commissioned by Google.

Their study took place online in January 2014 and explored consumer behavior across nine different verticals including Auto, CPG, Retail and Finance. Each of the 4,500 study participants completed a vertical-specific online survey. In order to participate, they had to be at least 18 years of age, conduct smartphone searches at least a few times per week, and had purchased in at least one of the nine verticals in the previous six months.

These insights can help you tweak your local search ads to better align with what consumers expect of advertisers when they're on the go.

What Local Mobile Searchers Need to Take the Next Step

When it comes to mobile ads, searchers definitely prefer to see – and act on – ads with local intent. More than 60% of respondents indicated they had used on-location information, such as an address or phone number, in an ad. Researchers also found that 18% of local searches on a smartphone lead to a purchase within a day, versus just 7% of searches lacking local intent.

And just what are they looking for?

Smartphone searchers seeking localized information are most often looking for business hours, directions to a local store and the physical address of the store. When you're advertising to a local audience, are you including this information?

Local mobile searchers use search most often for inspiration, when they're on the go and suddenly realize they need to make a purchase. Other reasons for mobile search with local intent include research before purchase, and information seeking at time of purchase and post-purchase.

Perhaps surprisingly, mobile searchers use their device to find local information most often when they're at home, where you might assume a desktop device might be available. Other places where local mobile searches commonly happen include in transit, in-store, and in the workplace.

Among their other findings:

  • 30% of consumers said they would buy in-store rather than online if they knew they were close to a store – and 35% if they knew they could get the product quickly.
  • The majority of mobile searches – 56% – have local intent.
  • 72% of consumers who searched for local information on a smartphone visited a store within 5 miles.
  • Over half of in-store searches have local intent.
  • 15% of in-store activities involve conducting smartphone searches about a product or for comparison shopping.
  • 67% of smartphone users want the ads they see customized to their city or zip code.
  • 61% of smartphone users want the ads they see customized to their immediate surroundings.
  • 68% of local searchers use "get directions" or the call button in ads and 78% believe having the local address in an ad is important.

[RELATED: Google Maps Favors Businesses That Get Clicked On More]

Key Takeaways:

  • Local searchers show high intent, convert at a high rate, and expect that advertisers will provide them the information needed to take the next step. If you're not already using ad extensions like click-to-call that enable searchers to quickly and easily get in touch or find your store, you're missing a huge opportunity.
  • Consumers want to see information about their immediate surroundings, or at least within a few miles. Use radius bidding to reach consumers near your location and build an attribution model for local searches. Use location extensions and location bid adjustments to target specific cities or zip codes.
  • Make sure your locations are in Google Places and verify your product availability, address and directions as they appear to smartphone searchers.

Image credits: Google Think

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