Nearly 500 respondents participated in BrightLocal’s “Local Clicks & Calls” survey in August 2015. Together, this group of 477 has worked on optimizing over 8,200 business locations over the previous 12 months so we’re hearing from a combined group of local business owners and search marketers who are intimately involved in the interactions between local businesses, consumers and the internet. What better group of people to hear from than those who are so closely attuned to which digital marketing channels deliver the best ROI?
For this survey, ROI is defined as online traffic, phone calls & offline visits to local businesses. These businesses run the gamut from plumbers to accountants to cosmetic dentists with the emphasis being on serving local clients from a physical location.
It can be frustrating for the business owner who is trying to gather accurate information on the quality of ROI and leads for marketing channels from local optimization efforts. Google Analytics doesn’t offer sufficient information, there’s a lack of consolidated call tracking as well as no concrete tracking of the number of offline conversions. This survey bridges some of those gaps.
As you consider these results, keep in mind that we don’t yet have a good feel for the impact Google’s myriad of changes will have on search. In recent months, Google has enacted an algorithm to reward mobile-friendly sites, has begun experimenting with the number of businesses shown (from a typical seven down to three) and is changing the business information displayed and linked (you’re going to have to work harder to find a phone number). I suspect these are changes that may yield more favorable results for Google than they do business owners.
Approximately what percentage of calls are generated by each channel?
It’s no surprise that local and organic searches combine to deliver 41% of calls for a local business. When someone is searching for a local business, they’re often looking specifically for a way to connect with the business. For a business with visibility on the search page that translates to calls.
Approximately what percentage of site traffic is generated by each of these channels?
You see similar results for the channels that drive website traffic: local optimization and organic results combine for 40%. I’m not surprised to their strength while I’m a bit surprised to see that Facebook and Twitter are so low. I believe it’s entirely feasible these platforms are being used more for brand awareness and customer service as BrightLocal points out. I also think business owners and marketers understand that platforms like Facebook like it when you keep people on Facebook so will reward you more for doing that rather than sending traffic off-platform to your website.
If you only had 1 channel that brought people to your business/site, which channel would you choose?
The three favorites are quite clear here- local search, organic search and Google Adwords. One of the commenters on the original survey noted that, in his industry, two “big name” competitors dominated Adwords so he felt it wasn’t worth his time and money to use that marketing channel.
It’s worth noting that individual results may vary. It can be a completely different experience for each business depending on what’s happening in their local market. For instance, the market for plumbers in one city may be extremely competitive in Adwords but not in another city. Every business owner needs to gauge what’s happening and where their efforts can yield the best ROI.
The following charts are from another BrightLocal survey shared in May 2015. There’s a 62% increase in people who report they’re more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile optimized website. That’s a fairly dramatic difference over a 2 year stretch AND that’s prior to the implementation of the latest round of Google upheaval. I imagine we’ll see this continue to increase particularly since a majority of searches are on a mobile device.
Are you more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile optimized site?
The responses to these two questions reveal the perspective of a mobile searcher- where is the business, can I get to it and is the business open? If they can’t find that info, they won’t be back.
What information is most important to you when you’re looking at a local business website on your mobile?
Which factors are most likely to STOP you from using a local business when you’re viewing their website on your mobile?
At Outreach Strategic Marketing, we utilize propriety natural language algorithms to analyze online market opportunities based on ROI. Based on the market research, we then create a digital blueprint for an empire of perpetual lead generating properties that implement Search Engine Optimization Consultation and Persuasion Architecture. The blueprint plans a digital presence and revenue growth that is based on fact based market opportunities for digital marketing success.