Mobile Is Local: How Smartphones Are Revolutionizing the Local Search Scene

lO MÓVIL ES lo LOCAL: Cómo los teléfonos inteligentes estÁn revolucionando la escena de la búsqueda local

Mobile Is Local: How Smartphones Are Revolutionizing the Local Search Scene

iPhones, Androids, and other mobile devices have changed the way we live. Our smartphones are the first thing we pick up in the morning and the last thing we put down at night. They are not just phones anymore; we use our mobile devices for everything. We check Facebook, send emails, access our bank accounts, play games, and find the answer to our pressing questions—all from our mobile devices.

More likely than not, someone has searched for your local products or services from his or her smartphone. Don’t waste an opportunity to capture this emerging audience. We’ll help you learn how customers search, what they are looking for, and how your business can meet your customers’ expectations.


Short bursts of mobile activity, or “micro-moments” as Google calls them, are changing the way customers connect to businesses. Research has shown that today’s consumers are making purchasing decisions, big or small, all the time.

Research also shows how people use mobile devices in the local business market:

  • 80% of people perform local searches on search engines, and 88% of that group perform those searches on smartphones.
  • People on mobile devices are looking for a store address (50%), business hours (54%), and directions (53%).
  • 50% of all mobile searches are for local products or services.
  • 61% of local searches result in a purchase.
  • 50% of mobile users visit a local store within a day of the search.
  • 18% of local searches led to a purchase within a day versus 7% of non-local searches.
  • 80% of consumers want ads on their smartphone to be specific to their location.
  • More than 60% of consumers have used location information in ads.

People are searching for local businesses like yours from their phone all the time. They want to know if you have what they are looking for, where you are located, what your business hours are, and how to get to your business. When you fulfill their needs, you will meet your business goals.

This is what a local mobile search might look like:

Maria waits in line at the DMV when she starts thinking about her dinner plans. She wants authentic Italian food, so she searches for “authentic Italian restaurants near me.” Her top search results include Olive Garden, Don Carlos Pizzeria, and Luigi’s. After looking at the different menus, photos of the restaurants, and their locations, she checks customer reviews for her favorite dish, chicken parmesan. She reads a review of Luigi’s chicken parmesan that calls it “the best in chix parm in town!” She clicks the call button from Luigi’s search ad to make a dinner reservation for 6 pm., party of two.

Maria’s experience is just one of thousands of mobile micro-moments that are changing the way consumers make local purchasing decisions. The question is, does your business’s mobile marketing meet consumer needs?

For many businesses, the answer is no, but we’ll share how one business is taking advantage of these micro-moments.

A Great Micro-Moment

After a 28-year hiatus in North America, Fiat reintroduced itself in 2011 to North American markets with the Fiat 500. Fiat faced significant challenges to increase brand awareness and market share in a well-established North American auto industry and an American economy in recession.

To build brand awareness, Fiat researched auto consumer search behavior and decided to carve out a niche for the Fiat 500 as a small, fuel-efficient city car. The company used search ads on category terms, like “small car” and “city car,” to reach mobile users who were concerned about fuel efficiency. Those who searched for these keywords were directed to the nearest Fiat dealerships. This search strategy increased Fiat brand awareness by 127% and the Fiat 500 had tremendous success in North America.

Fiat’s success was due to its ability to leverage micro-moments to build brand awareness on a national level. You can apply the same concept to any business. Let’s discuss how your business can capture micro-moments.

Capture the Moment

As discussed, consumers use their mobile devices to search, purchase, and research all the time. Your business can tap into consumer’s micro-moments in these five ways:

  1. Find your consumers’ “I want to buy” moments. Survey, interview, and create focus groups to find out when consumers are performing local searches and how they make purchase decisions.
  1. Establish yourself where consumers are looking. Create a presence across search, video, social, and display. Remember consumers are making decisions across a variety of channels all throughout the day.
  1. Give them what they want. Provide consumers with the information they are looking for. Find out what questions consumers ask, find out what keywords they use in searches, and create content that is helpful to them.
  1. Make buying easy. Consumers want an easy, clear path from information to purchase. Provide multiple, easy-to-use opportunities for consumers to purchase products.
  1. Measure your consumers’ micro-moments. Purchases aren’t determined in a single micro-moment. The purchasing process is made of many micro-moments. Measure the micro-moments leading up to a purchase to see how you can improve your customers’ experiences.

Whether they are looking for the answer to a question or looking for the nearest Mexican restaurant, people turn to their mobile devices for almost any question they have. They aren’t engaging in a long research sessions, but they are performing short, bite-sized research while they’re on their work break, during lunch, or on the train home from work.

These micro-moments are critical for your business to reach today’s consumers. Armed with this knowledge, local business owners can recognize and deliver relevant information in these mobile micro-moments to meet the needs of today’s consumers and extend their reach.

Homer Wolman
[email protected]