Local Search: How to Reach More Smartphone and Tablet Users

Local search Yellow Pages United

How important is a strong local presence for mobile users? Simply put, it can make or break the business of a restaurant.

A recent study performed by Nielsen unveiled a wealth of knowledge about the mobile search habits of customers as it pertains to the restaurant industry. The study surveyed 1,500 American mobile and tablet users to determine how they like to discover and research restaurants. Some of the more notable numbers include:

  • 95 – Percentage of people who use their smartphones
    to research restaurants
  • 90 – Percentage of people who go out to restaurants
    the day of their research
  • 64 – Percentage of people who go to restaurants within
    one hour of conducting mobile research

The Nielsen study also showed the vast disparity between the browsing habits of smartphone users and tablet users. In contrast to the 64 percent of smartphone users who are immediately converted into customers, only 44 percent of tablet users attend restaurants within the hour. This reflects the perception that smartphones are primarily for on-the-go fact-finding, whereas tablets are geared towards at-home research.

Additionally, tablet users seek different information than their smartphone counterparts. According to the survey, the three most popular behaviors are calling restaurants, getting directions and finding nearby locations. On the other hand, popular functions on tablets include reading reviews, finding coupons and locating restaurant menus.

The differences between mobile users and tablet users do not end there. In fact, the divide grows greater when you consider that the device used helps to determine which restaurants people choose. For smartphone users, immediacy and location are the primary drivers. Tablet users do more research in terms of a restaurant’s quality and are more inclined to choose a restaurant with good reviews.

One thing both groups of users had in common, though, was their starting point. The majority of survey participants began their local searches with no destination in mind. They simply went where their research – and devices – suggested. At the same time, three of every four participants noticed ads as they did their homework, proving that mobile advertising does work for restaurants. Since so many browse before they decide where to eat, a good, well-placed ad can drive a lot of traffic.

The moral of the story? It’s not sufficient, nor is it correct, to lump tablet and smartphone users in the same “mobile” box. Each group has different needs and desires that must be addressed in order to convert customers. Both groups must be adequately served in order to generate the maximum level of business from the Internet.

As a small business owner it’s important to not only have a website that is “mobile friendly” but one that can be rendered in various sizes and formats to address the growing popularity of tablets.  Websites that use the latest responsive design techniques will have an advantage over traditional websites when it comes to local search on mobile devices.


Yellow Pages United is an independent online national directory publisher. Yellow Pages United is not affiliated with any other Yellow Pages company that might be mentioned in this article and is not affiliated with AT&T or your local directory publisher.

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