By Savannah McClelland
In the new Local Mobile Search report released by The Local Search Association recently, the trade organization found that mobile is gaining—particularly in local search—where PC traffic to search is flat. The Association used data from comScore to reach their conclusions, basing their report on the fourth quarter of 2012.
The argument made by the data is that PC traffic has plateaued, as indicated by the fact that in Q4 of 2011 and Q4 of 2012, there was only an increase of 1 million PC users accessing the internet—taken from a base figure of 220 million the previous year, the increase is less than 1%. During the same time period, however, mobile grew at an almost phenomenal rate—particularly for certain categories. On average, as of Q4, mobile traffic stood at 15 percent, more than doubling year-over-year.
In the case of local sites, the growth pattern of mobile is even greater—the average percentage of mobile traffic to local sites grew to 27% from the previous year, an increase of approximately 21%. Some sites have even noticed greater averages than those in the report; for example Zillow, a real estate site, reported in January that more than half of its visits came from mobile. Yelp also recently announced that 55% of its searches came from mobile, with 45% coming from apps.
One of the key differences highlighted by the report was that in calculating mobile traffic, a further division can be seen between access by apps and access through mobile browsers. For the most part, apps are used more often in the mobile space, according to the Local Search Association report; however, in some categories mobile browsers are more commonly used. The report also discussed trends in the use of mobile internet access for purchasing, broken down by app and browser. In the case of travel, for example, those that used mobile devices to purchase went through a particular app 85% of the time, rather than a mobile browser. On the other hand, those that purchased in the automotive category almost never used apps for the purpose, preferring the browser.
The report is yet more evidence that mobile is a channel that marketers and brands simply can’t ignore. Because the data are from the end of 2012, mobile traffic—including purchasing—is probably an even greater percentage now than the report shows. Considering the details of the report, locally-based businesses would benefit the most from the mobile space, though it’s definitely a good idea for all businesses to work on their mobile offerings.