Survey Shows Rise In Mobile Search as a Starting Point for Consumers

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mobile-phone-map-searchA new survey, released by Telmetrics and xAd, indicates that there is increasing use of mobile devices by consumers as a part of their path-to-purchase, as well as increasing desire for local.

The results found that 45% of consumers go to their mobile device first when starting a search. One-third said they used mobile throughout their purchasing process, two-thirds switched to another device or converted offline. This highlights the fact that while mobile is clearly important, it’s certainly not the only marketing tool local businesses need to utilize.

“What’s important here is that two-thirds of those started on mobile, went elsewhere and worked through a different cycle,” said Telmetrics president Bill Dinan. “What we’re talking about is a world where people are starting on mobile, heading to the PC to do something, going back to mobile, and you’re seeing numbers where 50-odd percent, after they’ve done all the research on this path to purchase, are converting offline or in-store.”

Dinan said that going forward mobile is “going to be a big part of the process no matter the category.” However, marketers need to make sure they’ve also “created this integrated plan to be able to follow the consumer on their path-to-purchase, which links all these disparate screens together now.” So search is no longer “one or the other” — instead mobile is becoming integrated into the process at various points.

The specifics of mobile are also important in this process. Currently 55% of gas/convenience mobile searchers will use a comparison site or application while 70% of banking, finance and retail will use a specific brand app or site. This means SMBs need to look at how their information is getting out there on mobile.

In addition to these mobile-heavy results, the survey also showed how important location is to a consumer’s purchase decision-making, with 60 percent expecting a business to be within walking distance or a local drive away. This means that SMBs need to make sure their marketing planning covers both mobile as well as the potential offline conversion that occurs for those two-thirds of consumers.

“Yes, you’ve got to be found,” Dinan said. “Location is a big factor, with these categories, location is big … So, all these geofencing geolocating tools are important. But, there’s still an element that says ‘I need to be able to convert this guy.’ You got to get in front of it on mobile, and then think of the next pieces.”

Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight.