PCs, Tablets, and Mobile Phones Each Play a Different Role in Local Search

According to the seventh annual 15miles/Neustar Localeze Local Search Usage Study conducted by comScore, the device that a consumer utilizes can often signal which usage mode that consumer is in when conducting a local search. Understanding this relationship can help marketers better align their content and messaging to leverage the specific purchase stage the customer is proceeding through on their path to purchase.

For example, if a consumer favors on-device in the beginning stages of the purchases process, rich descriptions, visuals, and videos can help them select a product. Conversely, consumers at the end of the sales process often favor “where to buy” store location information and sales promotion (coupon/discounts) opportunities. Understanding and tuning your content to the usage mode can provide a competitive advantage.

In the past I have ordered consumers into three local search modes: Finders, Searchers, and Shoppers. Typically, “Shoppers” are at the beginning stages of the purchase process, educating themselves on brands and products available in a particular category. These users tend to have the lowest incidence of brand preference at this stage. “Searchers” tend to be in the middle of the purchase funnel, with some understanding of products and brands; often these users are in the comparison stage. Finally, “Finders” are 100 percent brand-committed and are simply seeking purchase location information.

“Shoppers” Engage on Desktop/Laptops

Desktop and laptop searchers tend to be engaged in the beginning stages of the purchase process and could be characterized as Shoppers. Unlike tablet and mobile phone users, they are less likely to be brand- or specific product-committed.


“Searchers” Favor Tablets

As represented below, Searchers tend to be in the comparison-shopping mode more so than PC/laptop and mobile phone users.


This fact creates an opportunity for marketers to feature visually compelling selling scenarios and competitor product/service comparisons that are easily consumed on the unique canvas that the tablet computing devise affords. Immersive experiences like video and product demonstration/exploration pinch-to-zoom pictures can provide these consumers seeking detailed information on “Why to Buy” your product over another company’s. Finally, when considering your tablet experience, do not forget to provide a “thumb-friendly” shopping cart experience, as tablets score second to PC/Laptops when making a purchase on-line.

“Finders” Are on the Go and Use Mobile Phones to Close the Deal

The final usage mode, “Finders” are consumers that have already decided on “why” and “what” to buy and are now seeking to purchase. Clues to this can be inferred from the primary information that is sought out by the differing device users. Address/location information is the number one type of information sought by mobile phone users along with driving directions.


Compared to other devices, mobile phones have the highest purchase conversion rate. Nearly 80 percent of mobile phone searches end in a purchase. So featuring clear direction information and sales promotion information can help tune your content to the users’ mode and increase sales conversion. As pointed out in my article “Mobile Website or Please Read the Fine Print?,” we explored in more detail what makes a good local/mobile Web presence again, as consumers use each devise differently based on where they are in the purchase process.


This all seems so logical; match content on a specific device to the types of information consumers most often access through that device. Yet, we continually see marketers trying to be all things to all people, believing that more is more as it relates to content. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tune your content to the device. You wouldn’t try to list your entire product catalogue on a smart watch computing device, or would you?

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