Study: Mobile Searches Driven By Location, Urgency

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xAd and Telmetrics released a study today showing that mobile searches, especially in the restaurant category, are driven primarily by location and urgency.

According to the study, mobile restaurant searches have a 90 percent conversion rate, and 64 percent of of those searched are converted into a call or purchase intent immediately or within the hour. The study also found that when searching for restaurants on mobile, the top three items users are looking for is a phone number to call, directions to that restaurant, and the proximity to the user — with 65 percent looking for a restaurant within walking distance.

This means that when developing a mobile strategy, businesses need to make sure a point of contact and mapping or directions is displayed prominently to maintain the quick and high conversion rates that are possible. The study showed that 51 percent of people are looking for a phone number and 7 out of 10 are looking for a business’s location.

According to Telmetrics President Bill Dinan, location is a huge factor for mobile searches, especially when 3 out of 5 users are undecided on where they want to go.

“Whether it’s location or indicators of location, those are probably the most important factors here,” Dinan said. “Where you have 3 out of 5 users going into restaurants without a specific restaurant or specific brand in mind, they are looking for something in the category near them.”

With such a high conversion rate and high degree of undecided searches, this study shows how much of an advantage mobile marketing can be to businesses: “There is a large user base in the mobile sphere that is undecided today and you can influence them,” Dinan said.

While overall this study shows the influence mobile can have, the statistics show that it is apps and branded sites like Yelp and UrbanSpoon that are driving the traffic, not search engines. The study stated the 75 percent of the time spent on restaurant content on mobile is in an application.

Dinan said that businesses need to focus on working on an app or with category-sites like Yelp, instead of developing a full mobile site, which will be left unused: “I’m not going to go through, in that limited real estate, the results of a search engine,” Dinan said. “The app is really the embodiment of what a search and user experience should be on a smartphone.”

Another interesting aspect of the study was the differences shown in mobile and tablet behavior. According to the study, tablet users are not necessarily looking for location, but are doing research to find reviews, coupons and businesses specifics such as menu items. According to Dinan, this means that businesses should work to make sure their mobile strategy accounts differently for the two platforms.

“The ad that’s got that location specific information that helps me realize what’s closest to me on a smartphone, that’s what I’m going after,” Dinan said. “The one that’s got the coupons and all that, that’s more of my research and tablet sign.”

This highlights the importance of location-driven advertising and gives businesses a good indicator of where to spend their money when investing in the mobile sphere. Dinan said that while daily deals are effective, “that’s not the only reason why” people are converting from a mobile perspective; it’s location and points of contact.

While the study indicated a sharp growth in the restaurant industry’s mobile marketing, the strategies it outlined can work for any business. The study also indicated that over the next 3 to 5 years, travel, restaurant and auto would be the three categories seeing the most mobile growth.

Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight.

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