Posted May 8, 2014 5:29 pm by with 1 comment

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Google Think Local Searches 1Google Think Insights just posted the results of a new study called “Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior” which is all about understanding consumers’ local search behavior. There’s nothing terribly groundbreaking or earthshaking in the report but it’s great for validation if you’re not sure you’re going the right way. It’s also very authoritative if you’re in need of some data to sway a boss or client.

We’ll talk highlights then you can download the full report right here.

4 out of 5 consumers conduct local searches using either a smartphone (88%) or computer / tablet (84%)

These aren’t just browsers looking for a way to waste time while they wait for their lunch. These are people with a specific goal in mind. They want a fast, relevant answer. If you’re the first one to the party, you’re going to be their first choice . . . provided you’re close by (5 mile radius is best) and you have what they need at a decent price.

Almost an equal number of consumers said they’d be willing to buy in-store rather than online if the store was close, they got the product faster or it was cheaper. Doesn’t have to be all three of those things – apparently any one is enough to sway a customer.

If you’re an online only retailer, you have to find a way to combat these same triggers. If I can buy it cheaper and get it now by driving to a store a mile away, why should I buy online? Maybe you’ll give me a bonus. That’s why I bought my new iPad online instead of driving to the store. It came with a bonus pack of goodies – but (big but) I didn’t mind waiting a couple of days for it to arrive. So think about that. The bonus has to be big enough to counter the time lost.

50% of consumers visited a store within a day of the local search on a smartphone

The number drops to 35% when they perform a local search on the computer but again this points to the urgency of the consumer need and how imperative it is to get it right the first time. Consumers search for specific information depending on where they are when they search.

Google Think Local Searches 2When I’m out and about, I want fast details. Business hours is a biggie. I’ve decided NOT to visit a store because I couldn’t tell if they were open. I’ve visited stores that said they were open and found out they weren’t. Not a good start to a relationship. Make sure your data is correct and that it shows up. Again, test, test, test. Look yourself up on an iPhone, an Android phone, a table, a computer.

60 to 70% of consumers want locale search results to be customized by city and / or immediate surroundings.

So, I’m at home on the computer and search – I get the address phone number. I’m on my smartphone, I get a “call now” link and a link to driving directions. Pretty standard, but folks also said they want search results to reflect their surroundings. Google shows an image of a guy in an airport. What does that lead us to? Search results with a link to the airport map or the nearest gate number instead of a street address? Have to think about that one some more.

If you want more, visit Google Think Insights and download the free report.


  • Cynthia, it is amazing to see these stats and how important mobile websites have become. Another reason for website owners to be sure they have their Google places and Google Plus accounts in order too.