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Mobile and local search attracting more retailer and brand spend, but still has a way to go finds study

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Brands and retailers are ramping up their investment in mobile and local mobile search as part of an increased commitment to search engine marketing, according to a new survey-based report published this week, with the proportion of client-side marketers who say their companies are involved with mobile search doubling from 8% last year to 16% this year, while a further 45% are planning to invest in mobile search.

A third of marketing agencies (34%) say their clients are typically involved with mobile search, a significant increase from 22% last year. According to client-side marketers, 17% of paid search budget is spent on locally targeted paid search. Agency respondents say that on average 22% of client paid search budgets are spent on local search activity.

However, despite the growth of mobile, only 2% of client-side paid search budget is spent on mobile search, while supply-side respondents say the average for their clients is 5%.

The UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report 2011, published by Econsultancy in association with digital agency Guava for the fifth year running, is based on a survey of more than 600 client-side advertisers and agencies. The research found that just under a third of companies (30%) carry out local search, up from 27% last year, while a further 21% are planning to do so.

Agencies report more widespread usage of local search than client-side respondents, with 62% of supply-side respondents saying their clients target by locality. This is a 2% increase from 60% in 2010.

Guava’s SEO Director Teddie Cowell says: “Local search offers fantastic opportunities for search engines to improve relevancy and for advertisers to better target audiences. Our own internal stats have also shown particularly rapid growth in mobile and alternative devices since Christmas so I’m not surprised the number of companies involved with mobile has doubled. But whilst mobile and local search recorded significant growth in the last 12 months, traditional SEO budgets remain buoyant, and the level of buy-in for search within companies has also improved which is nice to see.“

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