The web is not a static environment. Changes in technology-specifically, mobile technology and mobile search-have completely reshaped the way we do business. The question is, how well is your company keeping up?
The World is Going Mobile
According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, mobile data traffic increased 74% in 2015. More than half a billion mobile devices and connections were added in 2015, the majority of which were smartphones. This brings mobile use to an all-time high.
But the picture is bigger than that. Search engines, including those built in to mobile applications, are able to process more complex, natural language queries. Apps have overtaken mobile browsers as the tools consumers use to search, identify, research and interact. These consumers may research on one device and buy on another. What’s more, in the coming year it’s anticipated that 90% of sales will happen in stores rather than on the web.
What does all that mean? It means that SEO is rapidly on its way out of the picture, and it’s taking traditional ideas of how businesses should operate on the web with it. To stay relevant, businesses are going to need to embrace the power of local mobile search.
The Big Picture
It’s easy to say that businesses need to go “mobile first”, creating their websites for the small screen first and the big screen second. But in the face of today’s shifting buying environment, a responsive web page isn’t enough. Businesses need 360-degree access to their customers. All front end channels need to funnel down to a single core location, ensuring that information is transferred seamlessly between all platforms.
But wait. There’s more. That’s only part of the picture.
The World is Going Local
One of the more shocking statements Google has made recently is that 90% of all sales will happen in stores rather than on the web. That may seem like a complete reversal of buying patterns compared to past consumer patterns, but hear me out. The upswing in mobile technology has also brought with it new shopping capabilities for today’s consumers.
Studies have shown that tablets are more likely to be used at home or at work, while smartphones are more likely to be used in a social environment. With the increased reach and capability of data plans, these smartphone users are shifting search trends to a local point of view.
They’re asking, “What restaurants are near me?” “Where is the closest place to by (Brand X) shoes?” “What activities are nearby?” This information then leads to an increase in foot traffic, whose conversion rates are rapidly outpacing e-commerce. 75% of those who search for something nearby visit it within 24 hours, and 28% of those will make a purchase.
What does this mean? It means that the future of mobile search is going to depend heavily on a business’s ability to identify itself through the next generation of local ads-specifically, those tied to location services like Google Maps.
Everything’s Better with Google
There are dozens of location services out there, but what makes Google Maps a heavy hitter (and a perfect example of how mobile search is changing the consumer landscape) is the way location ads are tied into both their mobile application and their digital web browser. With these tools, they’re able to effectively use promoted pins and Google location services to provide users with real time answers to the question, “What’s near me?”
This way, they’re able to give their customers what they really want-targeted information where they are, when they want it. This is the new face of mobile search.
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