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YP-Top-Local-Search-Categories-Q4-2011-Q3-2012-Dec2012Restaurants continue to be the leading local search category on the YP Local Ad Network, according to a study from YP released in December. The study examines the past 4 quarters of local search (Q4 2011 through Q3 2012), revealing that the restaurant category wasn’t only the most searched (at 17% of mobile searches, and 10% of searches overall), it was also the most clicked and called, a position it held across mobile, tablet, and overall online local search.

While searches for restaurants grew by 13% compared to the previous year, other categories saw more rapid growth. Pharmacies (+144%), grocery stores (+102%), and bus lines (+102%) were the fastest movers, though neither of those broke into the top 10 categories list. The two categories appearing on both the top 10 fastest-growing and the top 10 most-searched lists were physicians and services (+70%; #5) and automobile parts and supplies (+64%; #7).

Clicks per Call Ratios Differ Greatly by Industry

Some popular search categories did not perform as well in clicks. Financial services, the second-most searched category, was only the 10th most-clicked. Several categories on the most-searched list – beauty services (#4), automobile parts & supplies (#7), and lodging (#10) – did not appear on the top 10 most-clicked categories list.

Still, several categories did better: auto parts, the second-most clicked category, was not even in the top 10 most-searched. Building contractors, pet and animal service, automobile sales, and legal services also were higher in the click than search rankings.

The YP study identified the categories that had the lowest and highest clicks per call ratios. Driving services and bus lines sported the lowest (2:1), meaning that for every 2 clicks, 1 call was made. Car rental, auto parts, and trucks were on the next rung (3:1), followed by security services, pest control services, medical equipment and supplies, moving and storage services, and insurance (each at 4:1).

On the other end of the spectrum, it took 19 clicks for every call to a grocery store (presumably as the end goal is not to call a grocery store), and 17 for each call to a real estate business. And while restaurants were the most clicked and called category, it took 14 clicks for every call to a restaurant.

Mobile Local Search Volume Grows

A significant trend identified in the study is the growth in mobile searches, which increased by 25% during the time period analyzed, to account for 30% of all searches.

Notably, many of the fastest-growing mobile search categories were not ones that could be classified as related to urgency or proximity. (YP has previously found that proximity is a factor in mobile search ad click-through-rates.) Indeed, the fastest-growing categories list was headed by industrial manufacturing (+105%), and followed by party planning (+94%), medical services (+85%), maintenance and cleaning services (+71%), and dentists (+71%).

Other Findings:

  • Of the 4,600 categories on the YP Local Ad Network, 39% experience some seasonality, meaning that they see 2-3 times their usual search traffic during their peak weeks of business. In the winter months, personal fitness trainers see the biggest growth over average, while during the spring, singles organizations get the biggest boost. During the warm summer months, concert bureaus and camping equipment benefit most, while wallpaper installation is the prime beneficiary in the fall.
  • California, Texas, and Florida contributed the largest volume of searches during the 4 quarters measured, while New York City beat out Houston and LA as the city with the most searches.
  • On a per capita basis, Louisiana was the top state for local search, ahead of Oklahoma and Missouri. Louisiana also had the most mobile searches per capita.
  • With around 8 times more searches per person than the national average, residents of Miami and Atlanta tied for the top search cities on a per capita basis.
  • The top advertising categories during the 4 quarters were building contractors, legal services, and dentists. The fastest-growing (by change in number of advertisers) were antiques (+59%) and gift shops (+35%).

About the Data: The YP Insights Report is based on internal data from more than 2.2 billion searches and 39 billion impressions from a full year across the YPSM Local Ad Network’s 300+ online and mobile publishers.

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