Brands should be using local relevancy in mobile ads

A new study has found that location is an important influencer for mobile search in the UK as nearly 50 per cent of both smartphone and tablet searchers expect search locations to be within walking or driving distance.

Mindi Chahal

There have been numerous studies on how smartphones and tablets are used in the customer’s journey as they research product before making a purchase. However it is important to go beyond this and look how and why this can lead to a purchase made via mobile. Location is one of those reasons, according to the study from xAd, a mobile-location based advertising network, and Telmetrics, a mobile call measurement provider.

They commissioned Nielsen to look at 1,500 UK smartphone and tablet users and measured the activities consumers reported doing via mobile devices. Location is important to smartphone users as 58 per cent are searching on the go, including nearly 15 per cent searching outside and nearly 10 per cent searching from public transport. Of smartphone users 77 per cent look for a business’s location info, 67 per cent look up directions to the business and 47 per cent look for a business’ phone number.

The study also found that UK mobile searchers are committed to the product research process, leading to a longer purchase decision cycle than those in the US and an emphasis on local relevancy and high purchase intent. More than half (56 per cent) of those researching say they have ultimately made a purchase.

In the UK price comparisons and reviews are the top two mobile research activities as mobile searchers generally take time to conduct thorough research before making a purchase. UK mobile searchers demonstrate strong purchase intent, however they feel less urgency to buy than US counterparts: 40 per cent of UK mobile searchers report intending to make a purchase within the day and an additional 35 per cent take up to a month before making a purchase decision. Smartphone users demonstrate more immediate needs than tablets searchers with 22 per cent looking to make a purchase within an hour of their search.

Brands that enable simpler transactions on mobile and advertise on smartphones using targeted ads with that local relevancy will see a higher the intent to purchase from customers. This insight into the mobile path to purchase will aid brands in understanding the potential returns of mobile marketing and the benefits of mobile optimisation.

“As UK marketers outspend their global peers trying to reach mobile consumers, it is crucial to understand the UK mobile searcher,” says Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics. “While two-thirds of mobile searchers don’t have a specific brand in mind, they do cite the importance of local relevancy. Advertisers that include local cues such as location info and phone numbers in their ads can positively influence mobile purchase decisions.”


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