Late last week I had the chance to talk to Telmetrics president and newly minted LSA chairman Bill Dinan about the newest installment of the influential Path to Purchase (PtoP) series. This one zeroes in on the travel vertical and specifically in the U.K. market.
As you may know, this is an ongoing study done in tandem with xAd and administered by Nielsen, to track commercial search and usage behavior across devices. The past installments have shown some interesting findings (our aggregated coverage is here).
By now, you may have heard many of the report’s takeaways and highlights so I’ll refer you to the obligatory infographic below. There’s some meaty findings within, but the real value was in the insights behind the numbers which Bill and I discussed at length.
For the sake of time, I’ll zero in on one point which is that 40% of UK travel searchers access mobile web only. 10% use apps exclusively and 42% use both. Speaking to the web-only segment, this is yet another indicator of importance for SMB website optimization.
This comes back to numbers we’ve examined from vSplash that only 5% of SMB websites are optimized for mobile. Taken together, these data points indicate a disconnect between user behavior and advertiser/SMB practice. Users then end up on sub-optimal pages.
This can be detrimental to a brand or business if users are left with a bad taste in their mouths from a disjointed mobile website experience. It’s one reason for Google’s move last week to further penalize (de-rank) mobile websites that aren’t mobile optimized.
This all plays out in the travel vertical when mobile web users start on branded travel sites like TripAdvisor. They’re in fact 2x more likely to do so according to the PtoP data. But then all goes awry when the user links to SMB websites for listed local businesses.
“With travel, you’re starting on these well known sites and then looking for more detail so linking off from there to the SMB’s page, said Dinan. “For the 40% of users searching exclusively on the mobile web, the experience often falls down in that last step.”
One lesson here is that it’s an opportunity for third parties to help SMBs get there. That can be marketing consultants or SEOs but the real opportunity according to Dinan is with the local media organizations with deep roots and existing relationships with SMBs.
Dinan names names including YP companies and local search agencies with a U.K. foothold. This comes back to the fact that YP brands — and their recent incarnations like SoLoCal in France– are very strong in Europe, as our resident YP expert Charles Laughlin will attest.
” The U.K. is a market where mobile usage and growth is greater than anywhere else in Europe,” said Dinan. “Because of the market need and strength of YP brands in the U.K., the opportunity for Thomson Directories and HIBU, as well as Reach Local, is incredible.”
SMB marketing strategies (including mobile) will be the central theme of our SMB Digital Marketing Strategies conference, coming up September 11-13 in Austin. Hope to see you there.