Local Mobile Content Audience Grows 51%

Local Mobile Content Audience Grows 51%

The number of consumers who seek local information on a mobile device grew 51% from March 2008 to March 2009, according to data from comScore Mobile, which also found that mobile subscribers are increasingly using downloaded applications and SMS to access local content.

Methods of Access

The mobile browser is hands-down the most popular way to access local information, with 20.7 million users in March 2009, up 34% vs. a year ago, comScore said.

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The strongest growth in the category is coming from downloaded applications (11.3 million users), which grew 83% during the same time period, followed by SMS (with 11.7 million users) at 72%. Despite the growth of applications and SMS, however, they still remain significantly less popular than mobile browsers for accessing local content.

“Given the explosion in application stores and associated marketing efforts, along with the growth in mobile phones using faster data networks, it would not be surprising within the next six months to see the number of people using downloadable applications surpass SMS for the accessing of local information via mobile devices,” said Serge Matta, comScore SVP.

Local Content Categories

Among the various local content categories, the number of mobile users accessing online directories has seen the greatest increase during the past year (7% ), followed by restaurants (70%), maps (63%) and movies (60%).

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Local Search Brands Move Toward Mobile

comScore reported that local search-focused internet brands – including AT&T Interactive’s YELLOWPAGES.com, Idearc’s Superpages, R.H. Donnelley’s Dex Knows and Yellowbook’s Yellowbook.com – have been developing mobile content, including iPhone applications, at a rapid pace in an effort to expand consumers’ online experiences across a variety of mobile platforms.

A separate report from the Yellow Pages Association and comScore found that local search grew 58% in 2008, while findings from a Borrell Associates survey revealed that small and medium-sized businesses are increasing their investment in local advertising as well.