Urbanspoon: Traffic Up 80% In 2011, Mobile Growth Faster Than Web

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Popular restaurant app Urbanspoon is releasing new data today related to its growth over the course of 2011. The company says its traffic is up by 80%, with mobile growth outpacing the web. The site is now seeing 28 million visits per month, with traffic now split roughly half and half between mobile and web.

On the mobile side, Urbanspoon has seen 112% year-over-year growth, while on the web side, it’s at 70% growth over last year. Overall, the company saw 255 million visits in 2011, up from 141 million in 2010.

Across all mobile platforms, including both apps and mobile web, Urbanspoon is seeing 6 million mobile monthly uniques and 10 million mobile monthly visits. The interesting thing about this data is that Urbanspoon can’t always tell when a user hits a particular webpage where that user originated – app or mobile web. That’s because many pages within Urbanspoon’s native mobile applications are actually mobile webpages built using HTML, a decision that the company tells us has been “great for scalability.” (Now to work on improved analytics!).

Urbanspoon attributes its growth to several things, from new features launched over the past year, to its continued focus on improving its mobile experiences. Notably, it launched a food diary / check-in feature called Dineline in recent months. It has also been aggressively going after OpenTable with its Rezbook iPad app that allows restaurants to take reservations directly from the Urbanspoon app and website. As of last month, Urbanspoon had over 1,200 restaurants using this service. (It had just 800 in August).

The company also integrated Zagat reviews in August 2011, just before Google’s September acquisition of the well-known restaurant reviews company. For what it’s worth, there hasn’t been any fallout coming from Zagat’s new ownership in terms of its partnership with Urbanspoon, we’re told. It’s been business as usual.

As for what’s next, Urbanspoon is exploring other ways to help diners “close the loop” with restaurants that extend beyond its bread-and-butter (ha!) offering of restaurant discovery. Reservations and waitlisting are just two of the services the company aims to provide. It’s also exploring ideas like food delivery, customer loyalty programs, and incentives. One of these new transaction types will debut this year. But, cautions Urbanspoon SVP of Publishing Kara Nortman, “when we get into doing something on the loyalty and incentive side, it will be something we consider very carefully.”

The company already allows restaurants to target customers via “Perks” – specials that appear in the reservation flow to entice customers to a particular restaurant. Presumably, the loyalty program could tie those perks to the individual, then reward them for their selection.

In the nearer future (a matter of weeks, in fact), Urbanspoon will deliver new mobile app updates, but specific details on what those will involve will have to wait.