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Local searches – for products, services and information online for specific locations – are a big boon for shoppers and, potentially, for marketers, according to a comScore Networks study commissioned by TMP Directional Marketing.

Some of the study’s finding on consumer behavior and attitudes while searching:

  • 82% of online local searchers follow up offline, via an in-store visit, phone call, or purchase; of these searchers, 61% went on to make purchases.
  • 33% of all consumers still consider print yellow pages as their primary source of local business info
  • 90% say print yellow pages are still valuable because they provide more information, such as accurate phone numbers.
  • 60% of searchers online looking for local businesses think that the top results are most relevant. 25% don’t want to have to scroll down.
  • Traditional advertising triggers branded online searches:
    • Between 60% and 90% of searches for heavily advertised categories such as pizza, insurance, banks and financial institutions were branded
    • 30-50% of keyword searches were general in nature for low-branded categories, including Auto Service and Home Services.

“Offline local search, White Pages and Yellow Pages directory advertising is a $15 billion market and fairly static,” said Stuart McKelvey, CEO of TMPDM. “Online local search is a $1 billion market and growing.”

“The fact that two-thirds of our online panel use online search as their primary source of local business information suggests that advertisers should consider the allocation of offline vs. online local search investments,” he said.

Other findings from the study (via MediaPost):

  • A majority of local searchers – 60% – first go online for conducting a local search:
    • 30% of searchers use general search engines, such as Yahoo or Google.
    • 17% use internet yellow pages (IYPs)
    • 13% use local search sites, such as Citysearch.

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