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xad-mobile-local-targeted-ads-feb-2012.jpg52% of mobile-local search ads on the xAd network yielded calls to local businesses following the initial click in Q4 2011, compared to 30% for display ads, according to [download page] a report released in February 2012 by xAd. The leading secondary action for display was accessing maps and/or driving directions (50%), compared to 42% for search ads. The biggest discrepancy between search and display was in the area of accessing more information and/or business reviews: 20% of display-ad users accessed that information, compared to just 5% of search-ad users.

Search Outperforms Display for CTR

Based on average Q4 2011 activity across xAd’s network, both search and display ads demonstrated strong performance, although search outpaced display by a large margin. Average click-through rates (CTR) for search ads were 7%, compared to 0.6% for display ads. And among those who clicked, 37% of mobile-local searchers proceeded to access additional information, compared to 5% of mobile-display users. xAd insight suggests that mobile-search ads show a higher CTR and secondary action rate (SAR) than mobile display ads because mobile searchers are actively seeking information related to specific, and often immediate, needs. Mobile display, meanwhile, is designed for awareness rather than immediate action, meaning that the ads are often noticed, but not immediately acted upon.

Mobile-Search Activity Peaks on Friday

Data from the xAd report indicates that in Q4, mobile-search activity peaked on Friday, while Sunday saw the least amount of activity. For mobile display, though, the most activity was on Thursday, while the lowest activity was on Friday.

Discrepancies also emerged for time of day: local search tended to occur primarily during business hours, gradually waning after lunch. Locally targeted display, however, ascended throughout the day, peaking after work hours at 6PM, and remaining relatively steady until around 10PM.

Local Search Continue Climb

Meanwhile, mobile-local search requests grew an impressive 60% quarter-over-quarter. Over the year, in-app search access grew 41%, compared to 34% growth in browser access.

According to a recently-released JiWire report measuring mobile consumer behavior in Q4 2011, 80% of mobile consumers prefer ads that are locally relevant to them, and three-quarters of consumers have taken action in response to a location-specific message.

Other Findings:

  • xAd’s report indicates that in Q4 2011, most mobile users queried specific local needs, led by restaurants, gas stations, and shopping, the same top-performing categories as in Q3. Other top categories included auto, home & garden, law & finance, and health & medical.
  • Looking at US regions, the South (29%) was the originator of the most search activity, followed by the West (27%), the Northeast (24%), and the Midwest (20%). This pattern held true for display activity, also: the South led with 34% of all display activity, followed by the West (28%), Northeast (22%), and Midwest (17%).
  • The leading city in terms of mobile-local search activity was New York, although it did not make the top 10 cities for display. Houston took the top ranking for display cities, also placing 8th among the top search cities.

About the Data: For the purpose of the xAd report, the local-search audience is defined as mobile-phone owners who access the following content categories, either through their mobile browsers or applications: business directories, classifieds, maps, movie and restaurant information, news, real-estate listings, traffic reports and weather. Metrics and insights provided are from xAd’s network and campaign data from October 2011-December 2011. The xAd network aggregates and manages nearly half a billion location-specific ad requests per month, billions of business listings, and over one million national and local advertisers.

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