- Food and entertainment are the most popular categories of mobile internet searches that contain the phrase "near me," according to a survey by location marketing firm Uberall shared with Mobile Marketer. Uberall's study found that 84% of U.S. smartphone users who add "near me" to mobile searches are looking for nearby restaurants, followed by entertainment (56%), banking (50%), apparel (41%) and personal care (38%). Only 18% of smartphones users have never tried a "near me" search.
- More than two-thirds of smartphone users (69%) rely on their mobile devices to help them shop, and the most popular shopping-related activities are researching products (63%), comparing prices (62%), searching for coupons or deals (56%), checking store hours (54%) and finding nearby store locations (52%).
- The millennial generation is the most likely demographic group to use "near me" searches on mobile devices. More than nine out of 10 (92%) millennials use "near me" searches, compared with 82% for the broader population, per the survey. Uberall commissioned the survey of more than 1,000 smartphone users last month.
"Location, location, location" isn't just for real estate anymore: mobile searches have become a key way for marketers to showcase their locations as consumers seek nearby products and services, as Uberall’s "Near Me Shopping Report" suggests.
Survey results about the "near me" mobile searches, which Google said in a blog post grew 150% from 2015 to 2017, could help restaurants and brick-and-mortar retailers focus their digital strategy to boost the possibility of being discovered by prospective customers. Google, which autofills its Search box with the term "near me" for business categories like restaurants, plays a critical part in being discovered with its near-monopoly on mobile search. Search engine optimization (SEO) or paid search results are necessary to getting noticed on its platform. Uberall found that 69% of mobile "near me" searchers were "very likely" to click on the first two to three search results, and another 33% said "somewhat likely."
Local restaurant searches are likely to remain the top "near me" category, given that many people make last-minute decisions on where to eat when they're hungry, but retail and brand searches are expected to become more popular, Uberall said. Its survey found that almost half (48%) of people ranked "a specific retailer or store" as the top search category among shopping searches, making it more popular than general product or store searches. That means searches like "Foot Locker near me" are the most popular local queries. Almost one-third of "near me" searches (29%) were for a general product, such as "Where can I buy toys near me?" while 23% of respondents searched for a specific brand, such as "Where can I buy Nike near me?"
Google and its YouTube video-sharing platform are the most likely beneficiaries of "near me" searches. They are forecast to boost their local ad sales 42% from $19 billion this year to $27 billion by 2022, per an estimate by BIA Advisory Services. Mobile media channels will be the fastest-growing segment for local advertising, the firm forecast. This year, Google's share of all local digital advertising across all markets will be close to 40%. Facebook and Google combined to earn about half (48%) of all local digital advertising revenue. Local Google advertising exceeds the total local advertising generated by all 11,044 commercial radio stations in the U.S. and rivals the amount generated by all 1,282 full power commercial television stations. By 2022, local Google advertising will almost double the over-the-air advertising of the entire radio industry, per BIA.