At Where 2 Get it, we operate hundreds of high volume local web properties for national brands. Many of these properties have a significant presence in local search, and this week we’ve dug into our analytics and pulled out some trends.
The data in question comes from a pool of over 2 million local search visits, over the year of April 2011 to April 2012. The data is from an anonymized mashup of various clients in different industries, mainly from the retail and restaurant verticals.
Local Search Engine Market Share
As expected, Google continues to dominate local search. While most reports from comScore and others place Google at around 67% of total market share, our analytics consistently give Google close to 90% share.
There are a few possible reasons for this. Firstly, Google owns virtually 100% of the mobile search market, and local searches are increasingly done through mobile devices. Google Maps also seems to have much consumer stronger awareness than Yahoo or Bing local, so it could be that even regular Bing and Yahoo users choose Google for local searches.
We’ve also put together a comparison of April 2011 data with April 2012 data, to show how the market has changed over a year. We can see that Google has dropped slightly, from 90% in April 2011, to 87% in April 2012. Most notably is Bing’s growth, from only 2% in April 2011, to 8% in April 2012. While some might still question the long-term viability of Bing, clearly Microsoft’s ongoing investments in Bing are having some impact.
Local Mobile Market Share
When it comes to mobile, all of our analysis point to impressive growth for mobile-local search. For the year of April 2011 to April 2012, mobile as a share of total traffic is 27%. In terms of growth, the numbers are even more telling -
- Mobile Share of All Visits for April 2011: 22%
- Mobile Share of All Visits for April 2012: 35%
Over one year, mobile grew by 13 percentage points! From a marketshare perspective, a YoY analysis reveals some interesting trends.
Year over Year, the iPhone has remained stable at about 43% share. Android slipped a little, from 38% to 36%. The biggest changes come from the iPad and Blackberry. iPad traffic rose from 11% to 17% – a huge increase! On the other side, Blackberry fell from 5% to 2% – not a great year for RIM. And while Windows mobile is still way behind, the year did see some growth, from 0.3% to 0.4% – although this is probably not statistically significant
Local Search Keywords
Many of our local search properties rely heavily on long tail traffic, and our data supports this. Some interesting tidbits include -
- The roughly 2 million local search visits were driven by about 125,000 keyword phrases
- 54% of recorded keyword phrases drove only 1 visit
We’ve broken down our traffic-driving search queries by phrase length. We can see that virtually every phrase includes 2 words or more, and 75% include 3 words or more. Most surprising to us was that just under half of all visits came from phrases with 4 or more words – clearly, the long tail is critical.
Finally, we looked at (not provided) keywords, and how they’re impacting our overall search traffic. Interestingly, we seem to have plateaued, with NP keywords sitting at 13% of overall traffic for 4 months in a row. While this is still higher than Google’s original estimates, we can at least be happy that the number isn’t growing.
Local Search Browser Share
The final statistic we looked at was browser share for local search. Note that here we’ve filtered by only desktop visits.
Safari and Firefox remain very stable YoY, the only change being Safari gaining a point. The real action comes between Internet Explorer and Chrome. Amazingly, Chrome eats almost directly into IE, with Microsoft’s browser falling by 10%, and Chrome gaining 8%.
Ultimately, these statistics are just a small sample of our overall data. While we don’t make any claims that they perfectly reflect the current state of the web, we do see some revealing trends in these numbers. For local marketers, the data seems to be telling a story like – focus on Google, target the long tail, and invest heavily in mobile.