Social Networks Becoming More Influential to Local Biz Search

March 1, 2012

localeze-socnets-local-search-2008-2011-feb-2012.jpg15% of local business searchers used social networks to find local business information in 2011, representing a 67% increase from 9% a year earlier, and up from just 4% in 2008, according to a February 2012 report from Localeze and 15miles, conducted by comScore. And those using social networks for local search appeared to conduct searches frequently: 35% did so daily, while an additional 34% did so on a weekly basis. Facebook was the site used by most (91%) to access local business information, ahead of Twitter (37%), MySpace (30%), LinkedIn (25%), and Foursquare (14%).

Social Network Users Heavily Engaged

Social network local business users also appear to be quite engaged in the social aspects of local business search. 45% submitted reviews online in 2011, up from 38% in 2010, and making them 67% more likely than local business searchers overall (27%) to have done so. In fact, 76% of those accessing local business information from social networks reported having submitted more than 1 review in the past 30 days, compared to 55% of the overall sample. This includes 27% of the former who had submitted more than 10 reviews.

Additionally, social network local business users were almost 80% more likely than the overall sample to use consumer ratings and reviews (52% vs. 29%), with the proportion doing so rising from 49% in 2010.

Daily Deal Customers Provide Repeat Business

Data from the report indicates that 60% of respondents used daily deals to access local business information in 2011. Satisfaction with the deals purchased appears to be high, with 88% of Groupon users and 86% of LivingSocial users rating their satisfaction a top 2 box score. And these customers are willing to come back for more: 45% have purchased multiple daily deals from the same business, while a further 41% intend to do so.

In all, 53% of daily deal users say they purchase equally from new and previously used businesses, while 31% are old customers.

Local Search Results Most Trustworthy, Relevant

61% of local business searchers indicated that they found local search results to be the most relevant search results, easily outpacing natural search results (27%), paid search results (10%), and paid results (2%). Local search results are also the most trustworthy, chosen by 58% of respondents, ahead of natural search results (31%), paid search results (9%), and paid results (2%).

According to a February 2012 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:

  • 63% of local business searchers said they are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social networking site, although this was down from 69% who responded that way in 2010.
  • 72% said they are more likely to use a local business if a social networking connection recommends it.
  • 49% of local business searches in 2011 were conducted without a specific business in mind, up from 45% in 2010 and 42% in 2009.
  • When searching for local businesses online, phone number (67%), address (67%), and hours of operation (64%) were cited as the most critical search data.

About the Data: The Localeze/15miles Local Search Usage Study was conducted by comScore in December 2011, based on a combination of data from 4,000 online surveys and observed behaviors of 1 million consumers who agreed to have their online searches tracked anonymously.

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