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May 9, 2008

Local Search Predicted to Be Killer App for Mobile

According to a new Juniper Research report, 1.3 billion mobile users are expected to use local mobile search services by 2013. While the trends bode well for for the mobile search industry (agencies and marketers alike) the report goes on to caution that these numbers are based on good a user experience.

Mobile devices however appear to be catching up to user expectations with the iPhone getting 50 times the amount of searches than the other leading handsets! “Apple couldn’t believe the scale of the searches, neither could Yahoo. Clearly, going down the line a good proportion of those searches will not be for content, they will be for local searches, they will be location-based searches. That will increase searches as a whole,” said Windsor Holden, principal analyst with Juniper. In fact, Google, Yahoo! and AOL recently all announced plans tied to mobile applications and development.

The Juniper report goes on to say:

  • Local search is expected to account for 43% of cumulative mobile search advertising revenues between 2008 and 2013, reaching total revenues of $4.8 billion by 2013.
  • User response rates to advertising which supports mobile local search are expected to be significantly higher than for advertising on general mobile web search.
  • Western Europe currently accounts for the greatest volume of mobile search enquiries, but that will soon change as they will be overtaken by the Far East and China region.
  • The so called “advertising overload” might act as a disincentive to consumers and might ultimately limit adoption. Other factor to worry about is the continuing public concern over search engine usage of personal data.

Another interesting fact is that research firm Strategy Analytics predicts 290 million mobile handsets will be sold this quarter, an increase of 12 percent compared to Q2 2007 and forecasts total mobile search revenues to reach $4.8 billion by 2013.

Recognizing the trends, its no wonder advertisers are beginning to take notice and look towards taking advantage of mobile marketing opportunities. One such company is Keller Williams Realty, North Americas fourth largest franchise real estate company, where today they announced a campaign aimed at individuals who are looking for a home, to instantly receive details on the property they are interested in on their mobile phone.

It certainly appears as though local and mobile search has passed the tipping point and will become part of the strategic discussions with clients.

Tom Tsinas РPrior to joining SEP, I spent 10 years with Canada’s original search engine, the Yellow Pages Group. I worked in several key Departments including Marketing, Business Development, eProducts, Local and National Sales.