Mobile And Social Platforms Want To Be The King Of Local Search

We’ve been saying for a while that ‘local’ is going to be one of those ‘next big things’, and the win by Red Beacon at TechCrunch 50 has been something of a clarion call for this. Now a new study from TMP Directional Marketing has come out with some interesting data to back this up.

The study shows that the web generally, but in particular mobile and social network search, are increasingly factors fueling growth in the overall search market. This grew to 21.9 billion total US searches in June 2009, a year-on-year increase of 31%.

In particular 4% of ‘young people’ do their searches for local information on social sites like Facebook. That figure can only grow:

It’s interesting that traditional directories remain strong. Internet Yellow Pages type sites sites gained ground, from 19% usage last year to 21% this year. As you’d expect, print directories declined 3%, but I would have thought flat directory type sites would be going down.

Anyhoo, more interestingly, mobile search is booming, with 32% of searchers with internet-capable cellphones now searching for local business information, an 11% increase from 2008. Some 60% of smartphone owners search either via their on-board browsers or via applications, and you can bet most of those will be iPhone users.

I love the stat that shows that only 5% of mobile searchers send text messages from their cellphones to directory assistance. I mean why would you – you’re already on the Web?

However, SMS is convenient and growing – overall, the number of mobile users who got their local information via SMS increased by 27%.

The study also shows that the most popular local content categories searched on mobile are directories (42%), maps (41%), restaurants (37%) and movies (30%).

[Hat tip to Marketing Vox]