‘In the moments that matter, can consumers locate your business?’ Google recently commissioned a study around this key question, surveying Australian PC and smartphone users about their experiences searching for information about physical businesses online. In a world where the rise of the internet and mobile could lead to less foot traffic in many local stores, the study highlights the need for businesses to get savvy online and exploit the moments when consumers actually want to go and do something in the physical world.
These moments are seemingly rarer and more ‘on the go’ than ever before, and many businesses aren’t taking advantage of free tools like Google’s location extensions to quickly connect potential customers to their physical stores. Similar to other search engines, Google’s location extensions show a business’s address, phone number, location on a map and directions prominently within its search results. For example, a hungry smartphone user searching for a local Italian restaurant could search, call a venue to make a reservation, and then press to get turn-by-turn directions to it, all without having to visit another website to hunt down contact details. In fact, 9 in 10 users surveyed made use of these tools, and 74% of smartphone users thought the ability to access the business’ location on a map was ‘very or extremely important’.
Considering this means users love using these tools directly within search results, instead of visiting the website you paid $10,000 for, it’s a pretty big deal. Critically, 35% of users surveyed thought businesses weren’t taking advantage of these features as much as they should, though, and 45% confidently said they would instead explore or use another brand or company that did. If I was hungry, standing in the middle of a crowded city centre, battling sun glare on my ever so small smartphone trying to find a place to grab a bite, I know which business I would choose to visit – the one that doesn’t look too dodgy, and the one that would get me there in the least amount of clicks. 40% of users agree with me here, stating they felt ‘frustrated or annoyed’ when businesses didn’t use location extensions, and thus made them click further to get directions or a phone number.
To ensure your brand or business captures your customer’s attention when they are researching and/or looking to spend money, head over to Google My Business (https://www.google.com/business/) where free tools are available to correctly set up location extensions across Search, Maps and Google +. Clearly consumers rely on these tools, especially when they are out and about and in a hurry, so don’t lose out to a competitor that has simply taken a few minutes to utilise them – in the very least, they WILL appear more prominently in search results than those that haven’t.
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