Let’s try a quick thought experiment.
Take a moment and think back 15 years ago, to 1996. In 1996 how did you: Find movie times? Learn about world news? Find sports stats? Learn about the best restaurants? Manage your finances? Pay your bills? Research a project? Learn a new skill? Share photos? Or Watch video?
How do you do all of these things today?
For most of you, the answer is online. The web has woven itself into everything we do and it’s not slowing down. Being able to get through the clutter and have the right information, at the right time, from the right sources is paramount.
Today’s web depends not just on the availability of information but the source and relevance of that information. When you look for information you’re no longer just getting a list, you’re getting results tailored to your physical location and results that include recommendations from your social network.
The catalyst of this shift is the increasing prevalence of mobile devices; they not only give us the ability to find and share from anywhere but also make that process seem natural. Looking to have pizza for lunch? You can search for pizza, locate a friend’s favorite local pizzeria and then write a review or post a Facebook update about the experience, all from your phone.
More people are using their mobile devices and social network to find where they’ll shop, where they’ll eat and what they’ll do. More importantly these choices are being made based on the reviews and recommendations of their social circle: the people they trust the most.
But if we really think about it, this is no different than it was 15 years ago. When we wanted pizza 15 years ago we’d look locally by using the phone book, ask our family and friends and then maybe talk about it later with those same people. The difference is that now we expect to be able to do all those things on the go.
What does that mean for business?
That expectation means that brands and businesses, big and small, need to work that much harder to ensure that their information is what a consumer finds. Business will need to distribute, monitor and optimize content across multiple platforms. Quality content, search engines, social networks and mobile devices will all need to be taken into consideration when creating an online strategy.
As social sentiment and local results become more relevant it forces all of us to put greater importance on the customer’s complete experience; search to store and beyond.
Here are some stats about Local, Mobile and Social:
- 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7. (Source: Morgan Stanley)
- More than 100 million people a month use Google Maps to find directions and information and “actively” use Facebook from their mobile devices. (Source: Google & Facebook)
- 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour. (Source: Mobile Marketer)
- It takes 26 hours for the average person to report a lost wallet. It takes 68 minutes for them to report a lost phone. (Source: Unisys)
- It takes 90 minutes for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message. (Source: CTIA.org)
- Mobile coupons get 10 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons. (Source: Borrell Associates)
- The fastest growing categories of online advertising are the local segment and everything related to social media. (Source: Borrell Associates)
Stats courtesy of these great articles: