- By Nick Frost
Smartphone Users’ Expectations for Local Results Without Extra Search Terms Increasing
Last year, Google’s research on micro-moments prompted marketers to think strategically about how the mobile-first world has contributed to a reimagined online-to-offline consumer journey. Knowing that mobile searches are rich in conversion potential (a.k.a “I want to buy” moments), Think With Google’s data on searching with intent has upped the ante in the local search game.
Last week, Think With Google released a complementary update to their micro-moments research. They found that fewer people are using local modifiers or terms like “near me” to target searches to their area, and marketers need to take notice, argues Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas, Lisa Gevelber.
With nearly one-third of all mobile searches related to finding local restaurants, local cafés or local just-about-anything, the expectation that more and more companies will start using location and context to customize results will only go up over time. Essentially, the user expects you to know where they are searching from.
Gevelber points to the fact, in the past year, that queries without “near me” (or similar qualifiers) have shot up 150% compared to those that do include them. Less specified searches — the example she uses is “Is it going to rain today” vs. “Houston weather forecast” — have also seen a staggering increase since 2013, due to the ability to anticipate and hone in on one’s location.
The onus now falls onto marketers and companies to compile as much necessary local data as possible, in order to follow an upward trend that clearly has no intention of slowing down.
Google Testing Lightweight Search App to Take a Load Off Those in Slower Networks
While local searches continue to rise, so will the speed of internet connections in spottier areas.
People used to putting up with slower connection speeds might soon be able to perform searches, minus the usual constant frustration — at least, if Google has anything to say about it.
Android users in Indonesia (and possibly India, but reports are unverified) were recently invited to beta-test Google’s new lightweight cousin, known unofficially as “Search Lite.” The slimmed-down search engine appears to be geared towards people in regions with slower connections, those who work offline and those who go through data like nobody’s business.
Version one of the app allows users to access most of the same features as Regular Google — including news and Images searches, as well as Translation — through a series of quick-access icons that can be personalized. However, users have the option to limit search results to only “lite” web pages or switch to offline results only.
Search Lite’s interface does come with a tiny “Experiment” label in top-right corner, so it’s obvious that this is all very early in the development stage.