There has been a lot of hype over local marketing this week following Google's statement that the local market is its No. 1 priority. Now, a survey from Bright Local reveals that heightened interest in local search may be merited – nearly four in five consumers have used the internet to find a local business in the last 12 months.
Bright Local's Local Consumer Review Survey asked more than 2,000 consumers across the United States about their local search behaviors and the factors that most influence their purchase decisions. The study found that 79 percent of U.S. consumers have conducted local business searches in the past year. Plus, once consumers try using the internet to find a nearby business, Bright Local says they go on to do it more frequently.
The survey found that consumers between the ages of 16 and 34 are most likely to use the internet to find businesses. Nearly half of online consumers in this age group (42 percent) search for local businesses. In comparison, 19 percent of consumers over the age of 55 look for local businesses online.
Additionally, online customer reviews seem to impact how consumers perceive companies they find on the web. Seventy-one percent of U.S. consumers consult reviews of local businesses, and more than half (55 percent) say positive customer comments make them trust a local business. Moreover, 50 percent of U.S. consumers say they are more likely to use a business after reading positive reviews.
This means marketers might want to monitor the local online buzz about their brands in order to foster positive feedback or conduct brand management when needed. The stakes for business reviews could be higher in the near future – as Brafton reported, Google may soon offer reviews alongside search results.