Consumer Attitudes to Local Search Reveal Problems and Opportunities for Brands

April 11, 2014

Placeable-Consumer-Attitudes-Local-Search-Apr2014A study from ConstantContact last year found that 1 in 2 small businesses failed to ever update their online listings, and that an equal share have seen inaccurate listings for their businesses online. Now, new research [download page] from Placeable reveals the extent of the damage inaccurate listings can have on a brand: some 73% of consumers surveyed said they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information.

The importance of online search to local businesses is also brought to light when considering that 56% of respondents use search engines to locate nearby retailers and 51% to locate nearby restaurants. Some 71% share research and confirm location information before leaving (as opposed to getting the details on their smartphone while on the way, or driving to the area and hoping for the best), and about 2 in 3 claimed that they would lose trust in a brand if they got lost walking or driving to a location because of an incorrect address listing.

Meanwhile, while inaccurate listings pose a potential problem for brands, online search also provides them with an opportunity to steal customers from competitors. In fact, when asked how they would respond to seeing special offers from competitors while searching for a business, 61% of respondents indicated that they would go to the competitor business. (Granted, this could be viewed as a problem, rather than an opportunity…)

The research also suggests that special offers appeal to consumers: almost 3 in 4 said they like getting seasonal offers from local businesses, while 55% consider it helpful when ads and offers are personalized to their needs and interests.

Finally, the study outlines some differences in habits between marketers and consumers. For example, marketers appeared much more likely to want to receive personalized offers than consumers (72% vs. 55%). They’re also more likely to use their smartphones to look for location information on their way to a business, rather to research before leaving. Perhaps their more rapid adoption of mobile habits explains the rapid growth in mobile local search ad spend recently forecast by BIA/Kelsey.

It’s not the first report to find some differences between marketers and consumers: last year, a study from Adobe found marketers to be significantly more favorable to online advertising than consumers.

About the Data: Placeable surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and marketers in February and March 2014 through an online survey. Responses were collected from both male and female respondents, ages 18 and up, in the US. Responses were random, voluntary and anonymous.

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