YP: Most Local Consumers Look For National Products Outside A General Search Engine

Topic-specific sites/apps are winning in local, as users ‘zig-zag’ across multiple search options to find what they’re looking for, according to a report with IDC.

Despite Google’s secured placed as the dominant search engine, when it comes to seeking out local products and services, consumers are performing multiple queries across a variety of sites and apps across different devices from several locations, according to a survey by local marketing services provider YP and marketing tech consultancy IDC.

Among the topline findings of the report, Local Search: Unleashing Opportunities for National Brands, which was based on a national survey of 750 U.S. adults (ages 18-64) via an online survey conducted in August-September 2015, included:

  • Nearly half of consumers (49 percent) looking locally for national products and services have conducted four or more search activities
  • About one-out-of-four (24 percent) have conducted six or more searches
  • Lastly, 36 percent used two or more devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop), 35 percent conducted local searches from two or more locations (home, work, shopping, on the go) and 27 percent did two or more additional offline searches.

YP chart“The customer journey is not a straight line any more. Instead, today’s consumers are zigzagging,” said Karsten Weide, program VP for Digital Media and Entertainment at IDC. “This zigzag approach to local search is a universal phenomenon, and what’s interesting is that it is equally true across categories and demographics.”

When it comes to “searching beyond the dedicated search engine,” roughly 48 percent of local consumers begin looking at more “specialized or topic specific sites instead,” the report stated. Furthermore, the searches are happening at a rapid pace, with 86 percent completed in one day and 63 percent completed in less than one hour.

YP's Luke Edson
YP’s Luke Edson

As for the use of multiple screens and multiple devices being used to satisfy the local search process, the findings show smartphones are used in all locations. In a sign that the desktop has lost its primacy, an overwhelming amount of searches occur in the home at a high rate (86 percent of respondents). Mobile is a natural option for consumers as they conduct their actual shopping (57 percent).

Even when people are not in the “shopping mindset,” 47 percent will be spurred at a given moment to search for something on their phone.

All of which should influence the way national-to-local marketers think about their SEO and mobile ad strategies, suggested Luke Edson, SVP of National Markets Group at YP.

“Local search is all about location, relevance and timing,” Edson said. “As consumers shift devices and platforms to find what they need at any given moment, marketers need to be able to present their brand in the right context, and that means working with new partners and new kinds of measurement, such as clicks, calls and store visits.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.