Local Search On Smartphones Prime Lead Generator For Businesses [study]

Confirming the trends put forward by comScore in April, a study by Kantar Media’s Compete brings further evidence that local search on smartphones has become a prime lead generation contributor for businesses.

Compete Logo.JPG

Strong Lead Generation
Remember, in April, comScore reported that mobile searches had skyrocketed by 90%. This time, Compete’s first-quarter 2010 study finds that consumers rely more and more on their smartphone devices to search for retailers and other such local businesses. According the research firm, one out of three smartphone users have been led to a local business after finding in through local mobile search. Local business discovery rate is quite high, with almost one third of Android and iPhone users finding new places thanks to local mobile search. Danielle Nohe, director, technology and entertainment for Compete, is therefore calling on local businesses to optimize their sites for mobile/smartphone users. Localeze is one of the leaders in terms of local search and is even providing services to boost consumer trust in its listings. As for its mobile interface, the company could still improve on it, as just tested on my Rim device.

Increased Access To Social Sites
Another finding is that smartphone owners now access Twitter and Facebook more consistently via their devices. Namely, 33% of them using Twitter primarily send tweets via their smartphones, and 33% of those read their timelines on their phones. Regarding Facebook, 66% of smartphone owners accessing the social site do so to read news feeds, 60% to update their statuses, 59% to process their Facebook messages and 44% to upload photos. The 59% figure for people replying and sending messages on Facebook seems to concur with COO Sheryl Sandberg’s recent assertions that the end of email is nigh… The social site is well aware of the stakes of mobile access to its platform and has even extended its reach to poorer countries with its free 0.facebook platform.

The iPhone Is Game
As far as gaming is concerned, the most popular smartphone device is the iPhone. Whereas 46% of BlackBerry users have loaded no games on their devices, “51% of iPhone users have five or more games loaded on their smartphones,” Compte said. Also, iPhone owners are bigger players than owners of other devices, with 37% of them playing games on their at least daily on their devices. Puzzle games are having the most traction. “Developers should turn their attention to targeting other smartphone users in an effort to even out the discrepancies in mobile gaming adoption,” Nohe recommended. All the more so as the market is poised for exponential growth, according to the joint study by research firm Magid Associates and software developer Aurora Feint. They already value the U.S. mobile virtual gaming market at over $168 million this year.

Web majors are investing in the mobile market for a reason. Look at Yahoo’s deal with Nokia or Google’s acquisition of AdMob. Some, like Apple, are already facing regulatory enquiries over their mobile ads platforms as Steve jobs’ company has changed its terms of access, thereby blocking AdMob de facto.

Convinced? Time to optimize your site for mobile devices…

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