Home  › Marketing › Local

Everything's Local in Mobile Search

  |  May 24, 2007   |  Comments

As mobile local search's popularity grows, so do ad placement choices.

Though more online advertising is moving to wireless devices, mobile local search is still in its infancy. But it is catching up rapidly in some business categories and will soon be an essential channel for merchants seeking to drive business from local search.

Today, 70.2 percent of the U.S. population has mobile phones, according to CTIA. Consumers have two choices for local searches on mobile phones and PDAs: SMS (define) or browser-based searches. Each is great at serving a different kind of search need.

Tools Tailored to Search Requirements

Maybe you already use SMS for those quick information hits we sometimes crave, such as weather, sports scores, and stock quotes. The technology has hit the mainstream, with 13.6 percent of mobile subscribers receiving at least one SMS ad in 2006, according to M-Metrics.

Typically, consumers do browser-based searches when they have more time or want more subjective types of information than they'll find in an SMS search. For example, a browser-based search can help find restaurants with reviews at Yahoo.

Segment growth has been taking off too, along with media attention. In 2006, U.S. advertisers plunked down $4.8 billion, or 2.6 percent of total ad spending, on mobile ads. That's expected to grow to 12 percent in 2011, according to eMarketer.

You can mark 2006 down as the year mobile advertising went from an experimental media to a proven one.

Local Marketing Choices

Where should advertisers and merchants look to make inroads into mobile local search? SMS has some advantages over Web-based browser searches.

First, only about half of U.S. mobile phones are enabled for WAP (define), the technology needed for browser-based searches. Second, data transfer is faster through SMS, so users are more likely to get a better overall experience.

Companies like 4INFO and go2 offer mobile search ads on a CPM (define) basis. They allow you to take advantage of all the measurability associated with traditional Web-based advertising, such as targeting by past usage and geography.

Pizza Is Easy; Others Are Catching On

Something north of 10 percent of mobile searches are for local businesses, or "directory-based queries." A big percentage are for restaurants and pizza places in particular. Next in popularity is a group that includes taxis, banks, and queries for specific companies, such as Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Target, Blockbuster, and Costco.

Other categories will become more widespread as two things happen: consumers become more aware of the capability and the companies that compile listings for local merchants expand their databases of dentists, doctors, florists, and other businesses.

Some businesses can generate a return more quickly from mobile local search. If your business is in a category that benefits heavily from impulse buying, mobile could be a great fit.

People won't make car purchase decisions based on mobile searches, but they will use their PDAs to find the nearest oil-change center, gas station, florist, ATM, or restaurant for a given ethnic cuisine.

What's Next

If some of the many regional and niche directories want to extend their local search, product-offering partnerships with companies such as 4INFO might be a good play. 4INFO has good technology and usage, and the local directories have the advertisers in local areas.

The technology for mobile local search is in place. The providers are ready. Consumers are growing accustomed to the concept. Make sure you're prepared when they launch their wireless searches.

Join us for Search Engine Strategies on June 12-13 in Toronto.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Wool

Brian Wool is VP of content distribution at Localeze, a Chicago-based local search company. Established in 2003, Localeze specializes in connecting consumers with local merchants through online content collection, enhancement, and distribution. An expert in local Internet search marketing, Brian leads the distribution efforts at Localeze and is responsible for content delivery to over 35 leading search engines, Internet yellow pages, and local directories. Brian previously held various sales and marketing positions at comScore Networks and Claritas.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Web Writer
      Web Writer (Money Map Press) - BaltimoreDo you have a passion for the markets and investing, and writing? Do you want to spend your days providing...
    • Web Production Specialist
      Web Production Specialist (Money Map Press) - BaltimoreMoney Map Press is looking for a self-starter to perform and oversee the production of daily...
    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Downers GroveWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager...