I was reading an article the other day about the expected increase in local search advertising over the next four to five years. According to a report by the Kelsey Group, local search advertising revenue will increase to $1.3 billion by 2013, up from a conservative $20 million this year. The increase sounds staggering, considering the figures go against conventional theories that this down economy will be around longer than expected.
But as I thought about it more, I believe the increase in local search advertising will be significant regardless of the economy and the main reason why: the Smartphone! With more and more people using Smartphone technologies like the iPhone, the Blackberry, and Palm, I expect to see a big increase in local search marketing over the next few years. I cannot put a dollar figure on it (The Kelsey Group already has), but just look around and the signs are all over the place. The technology with the web based, super fast 3G network phones makes it much more palpable to use your phone to search the web. The screens are larger than ever, they are in full color and have full keyboards! We are moving toward a time where it is actually less convenient to walk up stairs and turn on your pc, than to simply jump online from your Smartphone. When you are truly “on the go”, these phones can completely replace your home computer for online functionality. Instead of calling for information (say goodbye to 411), you can just as easily go online from your phone to find whatever you need — you are doing a local search!
If you are a business owner, you ought to get onboard with local search marketing as soon as possible. Make sure you have your local listings in Google Maps and Yahoo’s local business listing formats. You might find your business is already there, and if so, make sure all the information is up to date and accurate. If you are not listed, be sure to add your business listing and provide as much information as they allow you to put in your profile. If they allow a photo, use a nice picture of your building, or use your company logo. While you’re at it, check some of the other local business finders (think Yellow Pages online and similar sites) and make sure your company information is accurate and up to date on those sites as well. Remember, more and more people are using these Smartphones every day and they will be one of the biggest drivers in local search activity over the next few years.