While online retailing has made major gains in recent years, there's still a place for local brick-and-mortar operations to not only survive, but thrive, even in a still-fragile world economy. Local retailers can often offer things that online retailers can't, like unique local products or just a much more rapid delivery process. So there will likely always be some place for local retail, which means a good ancillary market for local search functions. A new study out from Juniper Research (News - Alert) suggests that the local search market is about to take off in grand fashion, and see big gains over the course of the next few years.
The Juniper Research report, titled “Mobile Search & Discovery: Market Prospects 2014-2018,” projects that by 2018, the total for advertising spending as it relates to mobile search and discovery products will reach a massive $16.8 billion. That may sound like a big number in isolation, but when one considers that the market was estimated to be around $6.4 billion in 2013, it's clear that this is a market with a lot of upside potential. The North American market is currently the biggest in terms of adspend, but by 2018, the Far East and China market will overtake it according to the Juniper Research report.
But though this market is set to be a big one, there are clear possibilities emerging from within the market itself. The biggest spending in the market will likely prove to be from mobile Web searches, yet it's worth noting that the fastest growth will come from local search apps. The increase overall of technologies like GPS systems, smartphone maps, and augmented reality mechanisms are helping to fuel the mobile market, and represent an excellent opportunity for advertisers to get in on people who are particularly receptive to a certain potential purchase. When potential customers are actively searching for a particular good or service, said users are more likely to buy that good or service, and those who advertise to users at that point have an increased likelihood of making sales. This is likely to be bolstered by the use of natural language solutions and personal assistant systems like those offered by Siri.
However, the report notes that the cart, so to speak, should not be put before the horse in this development, and those interested in advertising spending for mobile search should first ensure that the mobile platform in question has been sufficiently optimized as to prove useful for the user base. The Juniper Research study noted that sites that haven't been correctly optimized for mobile have often left sales efforts stymied, meaning that advertising would be wasted. Even one poor experience can leave a customer moving to a competitor that has a better experience, so correctly optimizing a mobile site is key to drawing customers, and from there, advertisers.
The Juniper Research report offered a variety of useful points, particularly in terms of making sure the user experience is sound before investing advertising dollars into it. The better job a platform can do in terms of providing a quality service, the more likely its advertising is to be taken seriously. Advertising taken seriously is the most often acted upon, so marketers need to be sure that the experience is there before the advertising goes up. But this is a market with a lot of growth potential, so putting investment in it now is likely to pay off in the future.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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