The Local Search Association’s annual conference just wrapped up, and as both a sponsoring partner and attendee, Acquisio had a blast! Local is so important to us and we learned so much on the ever-growing influence of local marketing. Including some rather shocking statistics.
Partnering with the LSA, Acquisio also helped to create a report that explores local search marketing. The report, dubbed “SEM: From Loss-Leader to Profit-Driver,” analyzes search marketing from multiple angles. Some findings will be of particular interest to small business owners.
To put local search marketing in perspective, the report explains there are about 30 billion Google searches each and every month. Of those monthly searches, 9 billion have some sort of “local intent” attached to them. And that’s only on Google. There’s no doubt that Bing and Yahoo searches add to the total number of users searching for local businesses and services.
From desktop to mobile, search engines are the way users connect with local businesses. Yet SMBs are still wary of using search marketing. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s look into some of the findings uncovered by the Acquisio-LSA report to see the role of search in local marketing.
LSA Report Reveals *New Industry Data*
We already know that millions of users are searching for local businesses every day. In fact, a recent tracking LSA-funded study conducted by Burke and cited in the new LSA-Acquisio Report, found that search engines are the most frequently used channel to find local business information. 87% of respondents said they used a search engine to find a local business, while only 70% reported using a business’s website. People are definitely using search engines to find stores, restaurants, and businesses around them – most of us have looked for local businesses using search ourselves. But what’s really important is how those searches are actually getting people into a physical storefront. Data shows that a whopping 75% of local-intent mobile searches result in offline store visits within 24 hours.
Yes, that’s right. Once a user searches for a local business, there’s a 3/4 chance they will visit a store in-person within the span of a day. Perhaps more importantly, nearly 30% of these in-store visits result in a purchase. That’s a pretty high conversion rate, and a statistic any local businesses can’t afford to ignore.
The Opportunity for Local Businesses
It’s pretty obvious that local searches represent high purchase intent. Or, in other words, customers seeking out local businesses on search engines are incredibly likely to make a purchase. The numbers prove it. What’s strange is that so many small businesses aren’t investing in paid search advertising.
Why are SMBs not jumping on search ads, given the boost in sales SEM can provide? At the end of 2016, a Manta survey of 613 SMBs found that 73% didn’t think their Google AdWords campaigns brought any new business leads.
A majority of the same SMBs also reported that they had a weak online presence, which ties directly into successful SEM. It’s possible these SMBs conducted self-service campaigns. And if their digital presence is any indicator, they probably didn’t manage their campaigns effectively.
Beyond what could have happened, this survey does showcase how many SMBs have a poor perception of SEM. But not all. More and more SMBs are becoming savvy to the benefits of digital marketing tools, search engines included. The stigma around SEM is slowly being dismantled, but not quickly enough.
Given the latest stats outlined in this post, SMBs are missing out on so many opportunities if they aren’t investing in paid search advertising. Customers do search locally, so if you want your business to be found, it’s time to start thinking about paid search! Stay tuned for our next post revealing more of our new research on small budgets at scale!
To get the full copy of the SEM: From Loss-Leader to Profit-Driver report click here.
All screenshots by Chandal Nolasco da Silva from the Acquisio-LSA Report. Taken March 2017.