Mobile Search Important for Businesses, Survey Finds

In a signal that cost-conscious businesses should adapt their business strategy to mobile-based developments, a survey by Compete finds smartphone users are increasingly turning to local search applications to enhance their lives.

Compete, a Kantar Media company, released the results of its first-quarter 2010 Smartphone Intelligence survey, which showed major movement in the use of local search, social networking and gaming on smartphones. The quarterly survey provides behavioral and survey-based insights into how consumers are using mobile devices such as Apple's iPhone, BlackBerry devices, Google Android handsets and other smartphones.
The survey found consumers increasingly rely on their mobile phones to search for retailers. Nearly one in three smartphone owners has called or stopped into a local business after finding it using a local search application, according to the results of the survey. In Q1 alone, close to a third of Android and iPhone owners discovered at least two new businesses that they were not previously aware of as a result of using local search applications.
"With the increasing popularity of local search, retailers should ensure their sites are optimized for mobile browsers," said Compete's director of technology and entertainment Danielle Nohe. "Making it easy for consumers to discover businesses via their devices opens local companies up to a whole new customer demographic, and savvy businesses should make sure they're maximizing this opportunity."
Consumers are increasingly accessing social networking sites via their mobile devices, the survey discovered. According to Compete's findings, 33 percent of smartphone Twitter users primarily send tweets via their smartphones, and 33 percent of these consumers prefer to read tweets on their phone. Of those accessing Facebook from their smartphones, the survey found consumers are increasingly using the devices to read news feeds (66 percent), post status updates (60 percent), read/reply to private messages (59 percent) and post photos (44 percent).
"Given the increasing popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, it follows that users are eager to access these outlets on their phones," Nohe summarized "Based on our findings, I recommend marketers start thinking about new ways to maximize consumers' use of smartphones on social sites, as mobile adoption will likely only increase with time."
The survey also found mobile gaming to be increasingly popular with iPhone users. Slightly over half of iPhone users (51 percent) have five or more games loaded on their smartphones. In contrast, 46 percent of BlackBerry users have no games on their devices. Nohe said explained not only do iPhone owners download more games, they play games more frequently than do owners of other smartphones. Of the consumers surveyed, 37 percent of iPhone users report playing games on their smartphones at least daily and puzzle games seem to be capturing the majority of this attention.
"It's evident that iPhone owners have embraced mobile gaming," Nohe said. "Developers should turn their attention to targeting other smartphone users in an effort to even out the discrepancies in mobile gaming adoption."