Local Search Sites Expand Reach via Mobile Phones with Mobile Subscribers Increasingly Using Downloaded Applications and SMS for Local Content
RESTON, VA, June 9, 2009 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported that the number of people who sought local information on a mobile device grew 51 percent from March 2008 to March 2009.
The mobile browser is the leading access method for seeking local information, with 20.7 million users in March 2009, up 34 percent versus year ago. However, the strongest growth in the category is coming from downloaded applications, which grew 83 percent versus year ago, followed by SMS at 72 percent. However, despite the attention mobile applications have received from developers, carriers and device OEMs, they remain the least popular access mode for mobile access of local information, with 11.3 million users in March. A marginally more often used channel for obtaining local information is SMS, with 11.7 million users, and an impressive 72-percent growth rate. Overwhelmingly, though, the preferred mode to access local content remains the mobile browser.
*Local content defined as searching for information on maps, movies, business directories or restaurants.
“Given the explosion in application stores and associated marketing efforts, along with the growth in mobile phones using faster data networks, it would not be surprising within the next six months to see the number of people using downloadable applications surpass SMS for the accessing of local information via mobile devices,” said Serge Matta, Comscore senior vice president.
Among the various local content categories, the number of people accessing online directories has seen the greatest increase during the past year (73 percent), followed by restaurants (70 percent), maps (63 percent) and movies (60 percent).
Local Search Brands Move Towards Mobile
Across the board, local search-focused Internet brands have been developing mobile content at a feverish pace. AT&T Interactive, for example, has made a significant effort to expand its YELLOWPAGES.COM online experience across several mobile platforms.
“We’re focused on extending the YELLOWPAGES.COM experience to mobile through our popular downloadable apps, SMS search, and mobile web apps,” said Matt Crowley, CMO of AT&T Interactive. “In addition, we power local search for AT&T’s MEdiaNet portal and have our YP.COM mobile client preinstalled on capable AT&T smart and feature phones. As a result of this strategy, we’ve seen our reach extended by 6 percent for our combined online and mobile unique web visitor audience.”
Whether it is a mobile-optimized Web site or a comprehensive mobile application, local search brands seeking to capitalize on the trend are looking to mobile to extend consumer reach and attract incremental ad dollars. Joining YELLOWPAGES.COM within the past six months, Idearc’s Superpages, R.H. Donnelley’s DexKnows and Yellowbook’s Yellowbook.com have all released iPhone applications.
“The mobile medium is an ideal fit for local directories,” said Deborah Eldred, Director, Mobile and Personalization for R.H. Donnelley. “We have the content to provide customers with the most relevant and up-to-date information to meet their needs while they are on the go. In fact, we have seen a significant increase in queries specific to visiting a local establishment, as people are looking for information about where to eat and what to do when they are out and about. They look to a trusted brand to provide the confidence that consumers need in that information. Our multiple mobile content areas, from maps and directions to restaurant recommendations, help give consumers access via the means most convenient to them.”
Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/companyinfo.
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